When I wrote the review for The Hate U Give I had to restrain myself for many reasons, the first being AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FA THAT! My goal with movie reviews is to let my loyal readers know if it’s worth your money or nah and part of that is restricting my words, getting straight to the point. But this movie reminds me of Black Panther because of the layers it presents and I couldn’t just skim through that. The reason I gave this flick a high rating is because it’s not preachy in it’s messaging and trust me there is a lot to unpack. Instead of looking at the whole film I’ll be pointing out specific scenes that made me think and analyze my own life as a black man in modern north american society.
Police Brutality : The driving force of this entire movie is the killing of Khalil by a police officer in front of Starr and the repercussions of this event. With references to Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin this movie has a clear stance, Police Brutality is real and evil especially in low income areas. This movie is political and has no shame in it, I LOVE THAT! This movie brought back memories of Ferguson and the reports of unarmed black men dying at the hands of trigger happy cops, what made this film different was the fact that Starr’s uncle (a positive Black male role model) is a police man. Starr struggles with this because in her mind she was raised to aware of her blackness in American society but she has love and respect for her cop Uncle. Khalil becomes a hashtag, the driving force behind a movement against Police Brutality but to Starr he is a best friend and lover murdered by the same enemy she was raised to hate! She is not struggling with twitter rage she is crying from real pain at the hands of injustice. Throughout the movie Starr changes, Death has that effect on people. She sees the dark side of police she sees the dark side of activists, she is reminded of the evils of the word and the hate that surrounds her. She sees her father get arrested for protecting her family and that broke my heart because as a 23 year old black man in North America I’ve experienced forms of Police brutality (HULL AND QUEBEC IN GENERAL!!!) I related to this movie on a spiritual level.
The Black Family: When you see a tragedy like Mike Brown or Trayvon on conservative networks they always talk about black on black crime and the black family. This movie does not shy away from that. The opening scene is powerful because it sets the tone, Starr’s father is a prominent Black Panther activist and former gang leader, Maverick Carter teaches Starr and her brother, Seven Carter, about the dangers of being black in America. Here we see something rare in the black community, a father who is present in the life of his kids. Since I was 5 years old my father was never in my life and I can say the same for about 90% of the black people I know, fathers who are cowards and chose to leave their family or in this specific movie, taken away by the Prison Industrial Complex. Russell Hornsby who plays Maverick Carter delivers a soulful performance always sticking up for his children and being the father that every child wishes to have: a protector, a provider and caretaker. But what stands out here is the fact that Mav can’t protect his children from the evils of racism and violence. Garden Heights is still a dangerous place and the black family is hurt by its own people, for example at the end of the movie his shop is burned down and his youngest son, Sekani Carter, pulls out a gun to shoot King the drug dealer kingpin of the neighborhood. This kills the narrative that the black family is the cure to violence in the inner city! Despite Mavs best efforts to shield his family from problems there is still violence, hatred and evil in the hood. The underlying message is that poverty is the causes of violence. Starr nearly gets shot, Seven gets kidnapped, Sekani turns to gun violence and even his wife Lisa Carter struggles with prospect of living in the hood of Garden Heights.
Political Activism: Throughout this movie we see Starr in pain after the loss of her friend Khalil but we also see the evils of Political Activism. When Black Lives Matter was trending a few years ago I was skeptical of the cause for one specific reason, it seemed fake. The same people making hashtags were doing nothing for the cause, they used it as an excuse to look “woke” when in reality they didn’t care. Starr is faced with this exact situation when she finds out her best friends Hailey is fake. Hailey is the stereotypical white person that has one black friend and believes to be woke when in reality they are ignorant to the black struggle. They are sheep clothed in the warmth of “progressive” when in reality they’re wolves who give no fucks about the real pain black people feel. One scene that stands out, when Starr is watching news coverage about the trail for Khalil’s murder and she sympathizes with the cop. Starr gets mad and slams Hailey for her ignorance, instead of trying to understand Starr’s pain Hailey stands in her racism. This hit close to home because I go to uOttawa and the same white people who claim to woke are Hailey they don’t care about us, they just want to look progressive when in reality they don’t care. Another scene that stands out is when Hailey uses the Khalil protest as an excuse to skip her math test. This is common among white activists, a lot of them are fake! The Hate U Give also looks at the shallow aspect of Black Lives Matter especially with Issa Rae’s character April Ofrah who is an opportunist. Throughout the movie it seems like she has the right intentions but at the same time it is clear that she doesn’t care about Starr, she endangers her by putting her on a national news network when she’s clearly traumatized by the murder of her friend. Activists like her piss me off, they use the spotlight to boost their own aspirations, these are the Al Sharptons of the world. They care more about the “Look” and “Optics” than the people suffering, its fuckig pathetic. I remember in 2015-2016 when black folks would #BlackLivesMatter and never do anything else, go to zero meetings, never donate to community projects and literally do nothing to progress black people. Those people piss me off more than the Hailey’s of the world, they care more about their “look” than real solutions.
Interracial Relationships: In recent memory I haven’t seen a movie that addresses interracial relationships between black women and white men, this one does. Starr is dating Chris, a white boy who claims to be down for the cause. We see this in every predominately white institution, the white boy that claims to be down for the culture and it comes off as fake. But it was a pleasant surprise that Chris is real! He is the opposite of Hailey, he actually cars for Starr and her struggles being a black women in modern society especially a white prep school. I can’t imagine how life is for a black woman, where being a woman and black puts you at a disadvantage in all categories. Starr and Chris struggle with being together, Chris wants to meet Starr’s family but she’s ashamed to introduce him to Mav. Starr struggles with being a minority in her school and white girls being jealous of her relationship. Interracial relationships are usually seen as black man and white woman but this shows a new perspective, it leads us to the same conclusion though, if the love is real things will work out. In a society that forgets black women, where love is hard to find (studies show that BW rarely get swiped right on tinder and other dating sites) and they are often neglected, it’s beautiful to see Starr find love regardless of race!
Final Thoughts: If you made it this far I salute you LMAO! I could keep writing in this Starbucks table but I want to wrap this up with this small conclusion: The Hate U Give is more than just a movie it is a lesson. This is one of those films that should be shown in Sociology courses to analyze the impact of Police brutality on the black community. With themes and lessons that are everlasting this movie will stand out in my mind for a long time because of it’s bravery. Leaving 0 punches and knocking me out with knowledge!
Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you.