The Hate U Give Brings a New Powerful Voice to Hollywood

The late rapper Tupac explained the plights of class and racial inequality through the acronym “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E”, meaning “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone”. Through this, Tupac explains that the injustice that society presents to the youth of color creates a cycle that sets them up for hardship for the rest of their lives. Tupac’s message and activism, along with a long history of police brutality and racial prejudice in America, inspired Angie Thomas’ young adult novel, “The Hate U Give”, which in turn inspired the film adaptation to be released this month. This film is important because it brings the story of a young woman of color into the spotlight when most large Hollywood films center around white narratives and characters. It also gives a mainstream platform for the Black Lives Matter movement and provides inspiration and hope for a fresh, new, more politically active generation.

“The Hate U Give” tells the story of young Starr Carter, who finds herself torn between the poor black neighborhood where she grew up and the wealthy white prep school her parents have chosen for her to attend. When Starr’s friend, Khalil, is murdered by a cop, she finds herself caught in the crossfires as the only other witness to her friend’s death, and through testimony finds her own voice. The novel was very well received, gaining several rave reviews and many fans, including myself. 

This story weaves a complex narrative as it illustrates many of the struggles youth of color face in America today, including a warped sense of identity and constant fear of violence. This film gives youth of color a story and experiences that they can relate to, and strong characters who they can look up to. Stories like this also create awareness of these issues to more privileged communities who cannot understand these issues, or who even may be consciously or unconsciously perpetuating these issues. While these more privileged communities can never truly understand the harm this inequality causes, it can help give them insight and create dialogue.

“The Hate U Give” is an extremely timely and relevant story, especially with the current political and social climate in America. Police brutality is at an all-time high, and the country feels more divided than ever. This movie provides young people with the courage to find their voices and make a difference, just like Starr. Young, passionate voices are what America needs now more than ever. I think this story will help ignite that passion.