By Katelin Williams
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is never to stop doing right.” -Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give is a gripping novel, by Angie Thomas, influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement and contemporary race relations in the United States. The novel was released in 2017, and has since received a multitude of awards recognizing the significance of Thomas’s message, including the Coretta Scott King and the Michael L. Printz Award. The movie adaption of the novel, starring Amanda Stenberg, is set to release in theaters on October 5, 2018, and is already receiving praise for the correct representation of African Americans.
The story follows 16-year-old Starr Carter and her struggle to identify between her poor, black neighborhood of fictional Garden Heights and the affluent prep academy she attends after witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a white police officer. Starr is not only forced to work through the psychological trauma, but also to struggle to identify the proper political response. Starr fights for her right to her voice, and her right to stand up for the greater good of her community–no matter the consequences.
The Hate U Give is a riveting experience cover to cover that follows the moments of an average teenage girl’s life–with one heart-wrenching exception. Thomas builds a platform for her audience to resonate with her message, as she interweaves the experience of Starr into the difficult experience black individuals face daily.
The Black Lives Matter movement began with revolutionary thinkers like Malcolm X, a courageous advocate for the human, inalienable rights of African Americans, to Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party in 1966, and to present-day Colin Kaepernick, whose message speaks volumes to his predecessor’s, all while taking a knee. Angie Thomas’ advocacy reaches beyond the Black Lives Matter movement and to the heart of activism and the human rights movement, transforming The Hate U Give into a standout piece that pulls no punches in telling the harsh reality.
The novel and movie adaptation is not only a feat for the Black Lives Matter movement, but for the recent wave of race representation in films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” In an article in Variety, Stenberg said that she hopes to open doors for people, especially women, of color.
The Hate U Give is an influential rollercoaster that transforms your understanding of the modern racial community we live in today, and augments Thomas’ message, “your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter.”