‘The Hate U Give’: A beautiful, moving story about police brutality in America

October 29, 2018 — by Nitya Marimuthu and Neeti Badve

“It’s impossible to be unarmed when it’s our blackness that they fear!”

This line, spoken by lawyer and Black Lives Matter activist April Ofrah at the funeral of a murdered black teenager, is one of many memorable moments in the newly released movie “The Hate U Give.” The movie debuted in local theaters on Oct. 19.

This line conveys the anger, frustration and fear of the black community after yet another death at the hands of a police officer.

Inspired by Angie Thomas’s award-winning novel of the same title, the movie highlights the issue of racially targeted police brutality. After Starr Carter, the young black protagonist of the film, witnesses the murder of her unarmed childhood friend by a white officer, she is faced with the issue of speaking out against injustice and standing up for her community or keeping herself and her family safe by staying quiet.

“The Hate U Give” comes during a trying time in America, with continuous and building tensions between the Black Lives Matter movement and the justice system. It addresses a wide range of current issues: from the socioeconomic loop that those at the bottom of the pyramid experience, to the unjust acts of violence by police officers, from the deaths of Michael Brown and Alton B. Sterling in 2014 and 2016 respectively, to the recent death of Silicon Valley resident Chinedu Valentine Okobi.  

Brown, Sterling and Okobi were all unarmed. Brown sustained more than six gunshot wounds after an officer thought he was charging at him. Sterling was shot six times by three officers after being verbally abused and ridiculed. On Oct. 3, 36-year-old Okobi, brother of Facebook executive Ebele Okobi, was tased to death after five police officers cornered him when he crossed a busy street in Millbrae.  

As the movie opens, it’s a bit like a cringy teen film, filled with casual pop culture references, cheesy lines and white people attempting to dance to rap music. At first, it seems to be stereotypical and overdone, with the characters appearing forced and rather flat.

This radically changes after the inciting incident, as the movie morphs into a poignant and raw story of the experiences of the black Americans who face injustice in our current societal system.

The combination of the complex characters and the powerful dialogue are carefully crafted to provide multiple perspectives to the complex issue of police brutality. This ensures that the story is not too one-sided, making the themes come across even stronger.

Filled with drama, comedy and a compelling storyline with complex, courageous characters, “The Hate U Give” is a gripping film that goes to just the right extremes to express the corrupt system that many black individuals face, making it a rightful Oscar contender.  

Other movies go astray when they overdo action scenes in order to get their message across, but “The Hate U Give” gives the viewer realistic circumstances, from firsthand views within marches and a courtroom during a trial of police brutality.

“The Hate U Give” awakens viewers to the idea that corruption has no boundaries, and it will prey on the innocent, the weak and the young.

The movie repeats a line by the famous American rapper, Tupac Shakur — “the hate you give little infants f***s everyone” — multiple times. Famous for his many songs about police brutality and street violence in the community he lived in, Tupac, who was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, awakened many Americans to the experience of blacks in cities similar to Baltimore where he grew up. This point is driven home by the fact that even the youngest characters are aware of the anger and inequity around them.  

For someone who is looking for a deep, honest movie that will provide entertainment while leaving the viewer with a lot to consider, we highly recommend “The Hate U Give.” Be prepared to embark on a journey filled with sudden action, tears and heart-wrenching moments.


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