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The Hate U Give Movie Review

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Photo Taken from Vanity Fair

Photo Taken from Vanity Fair

Photo Taken from Vanity Fair

Asseya Malki, A&E Reporter

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The Hate U Give is a novel written by Angie Thomas, a Mississippi Native, and published on February 28th, 2017. The book has been number one on the New York Times Best Sellers List for 88 weeks, and has received several awards including the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fiction. 

The book was adapted into a film which came out on October 5, 2018, receiving a ninety-six percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games The Darkest Minds) as the main character, Starr. 

Starr is an African American teen who lives in a neighborhood filled with both overwhelming poverty and violence, as well as an abundance of cultural wealth.

Because of the prevalence of drugs and gang activity at the local high school, Starr and her siblings attend a private school in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood. The story delves into the issues of identity, stereotypes, and race which Starr faces going between these two different parts of her life.

The story takes a turn when Starr’s childhood friend is killed by a cop. The story is about speaking out and honoring the lives of those who died at the hands of police brutality.

The official cover art of the novel.

The title refers to a tattoo that Tupac Shakur, the late American rapper and actor, had on his torso reading THUG LIFE. Many people criticized Tupac for seeming to glorify a lifestyle of drug-dealing and violence, however, the tattoo actually contained a deeper message. According to Tupac, THUG LIFE is an acronym for The Hate U Give Little Infants F***** Everybody. Tupac believed that racism and stereotypes placed on young African American kids leads to an endless-cycle of violence. 

Amandla Stenberg shared her take on THUG LIFE in an interview with Jimmy Fallon saying, “Whatever you do to kids, the systems and structures you put them in, that persecute them as children, comes back to bite everyone in the butt when they get older.” 

This work demonstrates the power  stereotypes and the unspoken hierarchy have on society and our youth. The Hate U Give beautifully highlights these realities. 

After watching T.H.U.G, I was awestruck by how a movie could be so authentic. It humanizes Starr’s father, who, to many, was just a societal threat as an ex-gang member: big, bulky, and tatted. The Hate U Give shows the reality of poor, violence-ridden communities and how implicit racism can be as damaging as explicit racism. I highly recommend this movie to others because it opens the eyes of our youth to the limitless possibilities. I believe that the young activists today are the leaders of tomorrow.

Interested? Watch the trailer here.

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