How “The Hate U Give” Failed to Bring Hope to Black Lives

By:  Black Conservative (@BlackConservative93)

I was weary of The Hate U Give due to Amandla Stenberg’s role as the lead character.  All of her past movies she’s played the token black girl whose race was invisible in an all-white world.  This is first movie where she is one of us.  I had to see the movie because I want to critique it before everyone gives it a 5-star rating.  What a lot of people did not notice was the film’s association with 20th Century Fox, but let’s just simply say FOX to avoid confusion.  Why would they green-light a film that goes against their Fox News agenda?  To play both sides of course.

When I first saw the FOX logo, I knew the film would be on some low key bullshit and I was not wrong.  Most of the audience came in thinking that this would be the next most important Black Lives Matter style of film since Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, but I do not agree.  Granted the acting was superb and realistic.  Stenberg played Starr as a woke blerd who lives in the hood, but attends a majority white school.  She sees herself having identity issues that are subconsciously produce by her parents.  Her father, Maverick Carter, is a former King Lord (I guess it’s a fictitious version of the Vice Lords) gangster who has radicalized himself to save his family from police brutality.  Starr’s mother, Lisa Carter, is not as radical but more conforming to the status quo.  She attended a Catholic school to escape the violence in the black community when she was a child and wishes her husband would leave the hood.

Starr does not really fit with the other neighborhood kids as she is not seen as the daughter of a former gangster, but a sellout who refuses to conform to her gender as she wears Jordans for every occasion.  Kenya is her best friend, but the friendship between her father (King) and Maverick are not on best of terms.  Kenya’s father, King, is still an active member of the King Lords.  Maverick also used to date Kenya’s mother and had a child together named Seven.  Starr has to prove her blackness by fighting a girl that Kenya does not like.  Starr refuses and meets with an old child friend.  After shots were fired at a party, Khalil takes Starr home in his car.  They reminisce on old memories and ponder on the meaning of Tupac’s quote, “The Hate U Give.”  Starr is disappointed that Khalil is dealing drugs, but she feels remorseful once she learns that the drug money is not really for his tricked out ride, but for his grandmother who is recovering from breast cancer.

After Starr and Khalil share a forbidden kiss (she has a boyfriend), Khalil does not signal that he is reentering traffic and is stopped by a police officer.  Khalil is not well-versed in how to conducted himself while being stopped by the police.  Starr panics and begs him to comply with the officer.  He does not listen and reaches for his brush which he is killed instantly due to mistaken identity.  The officer thought Khalil was reaching for a gun.  Eventually, it leads to national news.  Starr is afraid that her testimony will receive backlash that would lead to death threats and alienation from her classmates who already hate her for dating a white boy.  There is no mention of white supremacist groups, instead King warns Starr not to tie him into Khalil’s murder.  It is a stupid direction in the film as King’s name would not have been given in the connection of Khalil’s death.  It is not like he was dealing the moment he got shot, but the officer stereotyped that he was, yet then again, King was not there.  So there is no reason for King to insert himself in the situation.  King keeps threatening Starr and her family.

In the film, the King Lords members saved Starr and her brother during the protest as riot control officers fired tear gas.  They bring them to her father’s store as a trap to have them burned alive.  It was a bitch ass move by the gang as I find it hard to believe that gang members have no problem planning to kill a little girl.  It does not fit the street code that women and children are off limits for street justice.  Maverick saves his kids and squares off with King with a gun tucked on his waist, but his youngest son, Sekani, took it in surprise and aims it at King.  Police arrive and the fear factor of another black boy dying becomes too hard for Starr bear.  She stands in front her brother to protect him from the police.  Starr sees the hate in Sekani to kill King as the meaning to Tupac’s lyric.  It was the hate a little black boy had for another black man who tried to kill his family.  His hate would have made him a target to trigger happy cop.  At the end, Starr inspires her neighborhood to rat out King.  She champions herself as King is arrested and gets rid of the no stitching stigma.

I left the theater disappointed that even a movie about Black Lives Matter had the popular deflection of ‘what about black on black crime’ rearing its ugly head.  By the way, the cop who killed Khalil, of course got off free with a not guilty verdict.  He did not get a minute of screen time.  Then again, the film reflected on how black people react when an unarmed black boy is killed; violent protesting that leads to living life as if nothing happened.  Just how the cop who killed Khalil continues to lives easy is just how Darren Wilson sleeps sound.

What is the point of protesting when they (white people) to do not listen?  We don’t even get support from white women, gays and other people of color as they work against us.  Black people always worry about being hateful, hence the film and the ending.  We forgive and forget, yet go hard when dealing with other black folks.

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