The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give is about Starr, a sole witness to the unjust killing of her unarmed childhood friend Khalil, by the police. Starr lives a double life going to a posh private school whilst living in a predominantly black neighbourhood. The only way she’s able to fit in is by being Starr version 2.0 at school whilst refraining from being the prep school Starr at home.

When Starr witnesses the death of her childhood friend, she is faced by many pressures. Not only from Khalil’s family but from political activist April Ofrah, to frontline the case and be the voice of Khalil in order for him to get his deserved justice. Throughout the movie, we see Starr battle with making her decision, as she contemplates how those at her school may start to see her if she speaks up. She is frightened of what the police will do to her once she takes the stand as they traumatised her making her reluctant to trust them. She also fears a criminal drug lord in her neighbourhood who feels that her statement could put him and his crew in jeopardy. This movie is fictional but paints a realistic picture of the current state of America and its Justice System.

This movie is not just from one perspective, the film tries to give an insight into the life and thoughts of the victim, the police and the community. This movie also briefly portrays how conflicting it is being a black man in the police force in America. This is done through her Uncle Carlos, a police officer, which is almost a juxtaposition of bad cop good cop as he allowed her to understand the situation through the eyes of a police officer. He explains what it feels like to be on duty and encounter such situations. Ultimately, he cannot justify the death of unarmed black males, and it is truly harrowing when he compares the situation to how a white counterpart would be and is treated.  During the riots and in the wake, we also see how tough it is being a black man in the police force when things like this occur.
One thing that stood out to me was the role of the father Maverick (Russel Hornsby, who played a similar role in the Netflix series ‘Seven Seconds’) and how he always tried to protect and educate his children. A powerful scene in the movie was when he made them read a quotation from the Black Panther manifesto and expressed “Being black is an honour. Know your rights. Know your worth”.

The movie touches on many important areas in such a brief yet informative way. It highlights the manipulation that often goes on in cases like these, such as how the media has a huge role to play and uses its influence to portray the police officer as the victim and blame the real victim for their own death as we witnessed in this movie. The media and police try to justify the killing through him being a drug dealer without noticing the fact he’s a human first.

The Hate U Give has an interesting and intense ending. The freeze frame also makes the viewer frozen in their seat as the suspense is extremely high. To conclude, The Hate U Give being turned into a movie after being a bestseller novel was a great decision. It is a well-executed movie that evokes a lot of emotion from the viewer. It narrowly avoids being a cliché movie through having a deeper message that is consistent throughout the film and summarising all relevant, important and current issues in America as well as having an element of romance and an essence of comedy. It inspires the viewer to do more with their voice as their voice is as much of a weapon as a gun is and to have more enlightened conversations with young adults and those of the African-American community.

 

The Hate U Give is a strong 8 and a must watch!

Subomi Odanye