I Went to the SLC’s Screening of ‘The Hate U Give’ and Here’s What I Learned

Ever since Amandla Stenberg appeared on the big screen as Rue in The Hunger Games, it was apparent that she was a different kind of movie star. She was given a platform and deliberately used it to become a leading voice in Hollywood for all things social justice. Amandla is raw, fresh, inspirational and even more so as she brings the Black Lives Matter movement to life by playing Starr with two R’s in the movie adaptation of The Hate U Give.

Luckily for Florida State University students, the Askew Student Life Cinema hosted not one, but three screenings of The Hate U Giveto celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I was fortunate enough to attend the first screening where a panel of multiple generations of women looked beyond the plot and unpacked the issues that the movie highlighted after viewing the film. Here is what I learned from the movie’s thought-provoking quotes that night in case you missed out on the experience.

Courtesy: Flipboard

 “Williamson Starr doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto”

In the movie, we learn that Starr is constantly juggling two worlds and it’s exhausting. Her code switching is her attempt to please both worlds. She didn’t want to be seen as an “Oreo cookie” by the black community, but she didn’t want the white community to see her as “too ghetto.”  Every person of color has been in Starr’s shoes.

“I really wanna ‘Elevator Solange’ his a**”

Girl, me too. This is the pop culture reference that had everyone in the theatre feeling the same way. Here, Starr shows her struggle in trying not to be that angry black woman society is so afraid of. But, in Solange’s words, black women have a right to be angry.

Courtesy: MyBataz

 “Starr, just pretend the ball is a piece of fried chicken!”

If there’s one thing this movie did really well, it was making you ask yourself “Which character am I?”  When Hailey delivered this line, for some, her words seemed innocent enough and Starr seemed to have been overreacting. But, in this case, her words were just the tip of the iceberg, the iceberg being her prejudice. This whole scene explored the difficulties that often prevent open lines of communication about racism. 

“Brothers like me and Khalil get caught up ‘cause it look like a way out… I don’t know nobody with a private jet”

This line was definitely an “aha” moment. It shed light on the all-too-real school to prison pipeline and its damaging effects on low income communities. For Khalil, it was an appealing way to get fast cash when his family had big medical bills to pay. The era of mass incarceration is a cycle that people, like Maverick’s character, are trying to break out of because of its destructive effects on the family and the future of black communities. 

“Those white folks, they love to boast about how diverse that school is.”

Said by Lisa, an exemplary black mother figure, these words hit close to home here at FSU. The word diversity has lost its meaning. It is important to note that diversity is not just diversity in color. It’s diversity in all aspects including sex, gender and even politics.  FSU ranks at the top for diversity but that doesn’t mean we stop where we are, we have to keep it pushing until being a diverse school holds a certain power again. 

“It’s about more than just Khalil.”

There’s always going to be negativity in the world, but this movie provides a window to the importance in recognizing the impact that what you’re doing—or not doing—has on society as a whole. It’s also important to realize that just watching the movie and opening yourself up to the conversation about social justice is a great start to understanding social issues.