“The Hate U Give” addresses societal racism
By Hannah Murrieta
“The Hate U Give” was a movie made in 2017 trying to show a purpose to people following the deaths of people of color because of white cops. In one of the scenes, a young black teenager was killed because the white cop thought he had a gun and his family wanted justice for him because he got shot for no reason.
“The Hate U Give” shows a lot of emotional scenes as you see in the scene when Starr (the main character) is in the car with one of her closest friends Khalil, who she grew up with, and they get stopped by a white cop. Khalil gets out of the car and then reaches back into the car to grab a brush; when he was reaching, he got shot by the white cop. He shot Khalil because he thought he had a gun on him.
The actors in the film do a good job at expressing the emotions of the characters. The actress who played Starr, Amanda Stenberg, effectively portrays sad emotions after she witnesses one of her closest friends dying.
After the death of Khalil, his family was trying to fight for justice for him. A lawyer named April Ofrah went to Starr’s house to convince her to go testify for the trial against the cop that shot Khalil. Starr’s mother was concerned for her to go to testify because she didn’t want her to be in the news. Starr’s father told her that she should go because she has a voice to be heard.
I think April Ofrah, played by Issa Rae, tried her best to encourage Starr to protest. Rae plays the role as a warm and supportive character towards Starr.
Before the trial a gang member who Khalil sold drugs for warned Starr not to testify so the cops would not find out the gang was selling drugs. Starr is worried about this threat, but after talking to her father she decides to testify anyways.
Starr listened to her father and told the lawyer she wanted to testify because she knew that Khalil would want that and they knew each other since they were small. The jury did not listen to her because the cop said that Khalil was reaching in his car when he told him to keep his hands up. The jury chose not to indict the cop for Khalil’s murder.
In reaction to the trial, there are peaceful protests in the neighborhood that Khalil is from and the protests turns into a riot. People start getting mad at the cops, and the cops start pushing back. This leads to the people fighting the cops. Starr and her older brother Seven join the protests. Starr grabs a microphone and speaks about Khalil and the need for justice.
When Starr showed up to the protest, I think she really showed her emotions and how she felt about the protest. Something else that makes the scene effective is that her older brother stuck with her the whole time and didn’t leave her side when the protest was getting out of hand.
The people at the protest agree with Starr and start pushing the cops and the cops start fighting back, leading to a riot. Starr and Seven decide to leave the riot but are hit with pepper spray by the cops and the cops arrest people at the protests, but Starr and Seven are rescued by a family friend and take refuge in his liquor store. A gang member sees them at the store and, while Starr and Seven are pouring milk on their eyes to recover from the pepper spray, the gang member sets the store on fire. Witnesses to the fire open the back door and Starr and Seven escape.
When Starr joined the protest with the rest of the community and her older brother, I think she wanted to help the community get justice for Khalil. This showed that the characters wanted to be united and help out at the protest.
At the start of the movie, Starr didn’t feel like she had a voice and, with the death of one of her closest friends, she felt really down and didn’t want to talk to anybody or open up to anybody. She kept everything to herself, but as the film progressed she started to feel different and felt like if she spoke up Khalil would feel proud of her.
Starr’s family arrives at the liquor store, and her father asks the gang member why he set the liquor store on fire when his children were in there. The gang member tells her father it was because she testified in the trial. Starr’s younger brother Sekani has a gun that he tries to shoot the gang member with while their father is fighting with him. The cops tell Sekani to drop the gun. Sekani drops the gun. The cops arrest the gang member.
I think in the scene where Sekani has the gun everyone in the scene has realistic expressions and emotions most actors would not be able to express.
The message of the film — to never give up — is shown through Starr trying to find any way possible to get justice for Khalil. The film also encourages the viewer not to judge people when Starr is testifying and dealing with that stress her friends at her private white school don’t understand why she is stressed.
Featured image (at the top of the post): “The Hate U Give” is based on a novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr