The Hate U Give: The Movie Everyone Needs to See
“It’s dope to be black, until it’s hard to be black” – Angie Thomas
I first read The Hate U Give last year. I was walking through Target and got lost in the book section. And then I saw it: a white book front, with a black girl holding up a sign, “The Hate U Give,” spelling out the word “thug” a word that’s not exactly new when it comes to describing black men. I didn’t read the inside to find out what it was about, I just knew I wanted it.
It usually takes me about two to three days to finish a book if I’m really invested in it. If it’s my day off and I love the book, I can finish it in a day. It took me almost two weeks to finish this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but because of how emotionally heavy it was. I found myself having to put the book down every couple hours, or days just to take in everything. Or just to cry. I stupidly thought that since I read the book and knew what was going to happen, the movie wasn’t going to hit me that hard, but God was I wrong.
The movie opens with Maverick, father to the titular character Starr and her two brothers, Seven and Sekani, giving Starr and Seven “the talk”. No, not the birds and the bees talk, but the talk of how to act if and when you get pulled over by a cop — a conversation that is heard far too often in black households. As Maverick explains to his children, who were nine and ten at the time about keeping your hands on the dashboard and remaining still, I start to cry. Quietly at first, but the more Maverick talks, the less I could control myself. I think about my friends, my dad, my brother, my cousin who had the cops called on him all because he was opening a business while black. I wonder if I would ever have to have this conversation with my kids. And if I would ever get a phone call telling me the news I would ultimately dread.
The topic of police brutality in this country is a touchy one, but it’s nothing new, and it’s not a difficult concept to understand. But that’s a topic for a different day. My heart is too heavy to go into it.
However, I’ll leave you with this: this movie is important, this book important. Growing up, whenever I would complain about somebody or not understand their point of view, my mom would always tell me to “walk a mile in their shoes,” so why do we forget that when it comes to tough and sensitive topics? Why is it difficult to believe that given people’s experiences or decades of police violence against a group of people causes distrust? Maybe you’ll read the book or watch the movie and come out of it with a different point of view. Different worlds exist for different people –just because you haven’t experienced what they have doesn’t mean another person doesn’t. Or maybe you’ll leave just as closed-minded. It’s a conversation piece that I won’t stop having, and like Starr says near the end of the movie, “How many of us have to die until ya’ll get it?”