By: Victor Ochieng
There are some movies whose kind only come once after a few years. We had the 1989’s “Do The Right Thing” and later had the 2009’s “Fruitvale Station.” Reviewers and notable movie critics gave these movies a thumbs up. Falling into this category is “The Hate You Give,” a George Tillman Jr. directed movie that boldly speaks about our country’s alarming cultural warfare from a Black standpoint.
Every Black or brown person in America would relate with one or more of the film’s characters. The fact of the matter is that this is the kind of movie every American should see, but more specifically the young ones.
Hollywood actress Amandla Stenberg has been in the industry for many years, but “The Hate You Give” now clearly becomes her breakthrough and in a manner that’s Oscar-worthy. In the film, the 19-year-old gives an exemplary performance as Starr Carter, a teenager who’s caught between two worlds, having to study in a white school and living in a black neighborhood.
The movie is based on Angie Thomas’ novel with the same name. It was adapted by Tina Mabry and Audrey Well, and it fittingly touches on the implicit and explicit challenges that Stenberg goes through in the white spaces, putting her on a path that would eventually change her life.
Khalil, a role played by Algee Smith, Carter’s lifelong friend, ends up shot at the hands of the police. This graphic and extremely gut-wrenching scene in which Khalil is fatally shot is relatable to the many killings of Black men, women and children by the police.
While this is something that we’re already seeing in our daily lives, like in the current case of LaQuan McDonald in Chicago, it’s such a horror watching it on the big screen, where you see the display of the victim’s neighborhood, the unjustifiable blaming of the victim who’s not in a position to defend himself, to the cunning and insincere protests by whites to their engagements with the cops and the Black communities.
As the film rolls, it’s almost impossible to get deeply emotional or even shed tears as your mind races through the cases of Philando Castile, Antown Rose, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and Bothan Jean.
The well delivered film features some great names, including Regina Hall, Common, Russell Hornsby and Issa Rae. “The Hate You Give” also brings in a pool of new actors who’ve also played their roles so powerfully to make this film a must watch.