New York Times best-selling author Angie Thomas, inspired by the political climate that animated the Black Lives Matter movement, tells an important story about present-day racism in the United States. The Hate U Give is told through the eyes of Starr Carter, a 16 year-old girl who witnesses a white police officer fatally shoot her childhood friend. Thomas’ debut book, a masterpiece that is painfully reflective of race relations in this country has skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers where it has remained for 82 straight weeks (and counting).
Her work has since been adapted to the big screen by Director George Tillman Jr., allowing many of the book’s motifs to come to life through powerful on-screen imagery. To support the release of the film, ICON MANNTM, a media enterprise focused on supporting black men and their representation in society, hosted an early screening of the film accompanied by a panel discussion with several of the movie’s lead actors.
During the panel, Russell Hornsby – who plays Starr’s father Maverick ‘Mav’ Carter – spoke on the importance of the movie and eloquently captured the role that a film like The Hate U Give plays in society today:
“The movie is meant to make people feel again. We have become so desensitized to all of this as a society, and the power of this film lies in its ability to bring emotion back to these stories.”
Hornsby, of course, is referring not only to the countless stories of police violence against black men and women in America, but also to the sobering reality that these stories have become commonplace. The frequency with which we hear about these tragedies causes many of us to tune them out or feel a little bit less each time, not out of apathy but out of fatigue, hopelessness and self-preservation.
The Hate U Give makes people feel again.
That is because the film offers more than just provocative images and one-liners. It tees up so many of the complexities that exist in the lives of ordinary Americans; “code switching” and existing across cultural lines, masculinity and fatherhood in the black community, activism and the role we play in making a difference, love across racial lines, just to name a few.
Films provide entertainment, sure, but more importantly, they are an art form that captures the zeitgeist of a moment. The legacy of The Hate U Give will be that it serves as a catalyst for the conversations that our generation needs to have. It is our duty to teach the generations that follow to lead without fear, to speak truth unapologetically, and to hold each other accountable to the values that we want to see in our world.
After all, these conversations may be the ones that save our lives.
The Hate U Give will open in limited release on October 5th, with wide theater release October 19th.
Special shout out to ICON MANNTM and Vibe Magazine for hosting the screening and panel discussion, which included:
- George Tillman, Jr., Director
- Russell Hornsby, Actor (Maverick ‘Mav’ Carter)
- Algee Smith, Actor (Khalil)
- Datwon Thomas, Editor-In-Chief at VIBE Magazine
ICON MANN™, founded by Tamara Houston, is a media and heritage development enterprise, cultivating a global network of prominent black men committed to positively transforming the dialogue and imaging of black men. You can learn more about their work here and follow them on social media.