‘The Hate U Give:’ Racial Conflict on the Big Screen

Amaris E. Rodriguez, Opinions Editor

I waited for months for “The Hate U Give” to open in theaters and it was worth the wait.  

The big screen adaptation of Angie Thomas’ young adult novel opened nationwide in theaters on Oct. 19 and was directed by George Tillman Jr, who previously directed “Notorious” and “Men of Honor.”

The film is based on the critically acclaimed novel by the same name and follows the story of Starr Carter, a high school student who is the sole witness of a police shooting that kills her childhood best friend.

The novel, which debuted at Number 1 on The New York Times young adult best-sellers list, deals with the aftermath of a racially motivated police brutality case, a social issue that sparked the Black Lives Matter  movement throughout the country. The novel itself was inspired by the shooting of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old African American man who was fatally shot in California by a police officer.

The movie adaptation starred Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter, a black teenager who lives in a predominately poor black neighborhood and attends Williamson Prep, a predominantly white private school in a different neighborhood.

Just as in the novel, the movie highlights the pressures Carter feels to have two separate parts of her personality; one for Garden Heights and one for  Williamson Prep. This tension only increases as the events unfold.

Carter’s school friend, played by Disney Channel’s Boy Meets Girl star Sabrina Carpenter, is used throughout  the movie to add tension to situations that might be considered racist and insensitive such as a comment about fried chicken.

The movie earned $2.5 million on opening day and faced criticism after videos surfaced of Kian Lawley, who played Stenberg’s love interest, using the N-word. Lawley’s character was re-casted and played by K.J Apa.

Carter’s father, played by Russel Hornsby, is a former gang member turned good who now believes in helping out his community. Throughout the movie he is a strong presence throughout the movie, representing the struggles African American men can face in this country. A strong scene that captured this was when he is questioned and physically restrained by police officers in front of his kids.

The movie made me cry as it resonated with the fear that a lot of minorities, such as myself, have when dealing with police authority.

The Hate U Give is currently still in theatres.