The Hate U Give's Amandla Stenberg: ‘Our generation is upending Hollywood’

the Guardian | 10/20/2018 | Steve Rose

Any resemblance between The Hate U Give and your average teen movie evaporates about 20 minutes in, when 16-year-old Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg, witnesses a police officer shoot dead her friend Khalil at point-blank range. By this stage, Starr’s father has already given her The Talk, the time-honoured ritual where African-American parents instruct their children how to behave if stopped by the police: be polite, stay calm, put your hands where they can see them. When their car is pulled over, Starr follows the drill. Khalil reaches for a hairbrush. The police officer thinks it’s a gun. That’s all it takes.

The Hate U Give is fictional, but barely. To see the stricken expression on Stenberg’s face during the shooting scene is to recall Diamond Reynolds, partner of Philando Castile, who livestreamed the aftermath of Castile’s 2016 police shooting from the passenger seat while he bled to death beside her. The victims’ names have almost become a mantra: Castile, Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland – all young African Americans killed by law enforcement, each an avoidable tragedy.

Stories - Others - Black - Matter - Movement

Their stories, among others, have fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement, and now we are starting to see them reflected in popular culture (Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, for example, dramatised the shooting of Oscar Grant). The Hate U Give is already the most visible product of this to date. Angie Thomas’s source novel has been a publishing phenomenon. The movie, directed by George Tillman Jr, could well follow suit, with its built-in following and a rising swell of critical acclaim, especially around Stenberg’s powerful performance.

After the shooting incident, neither she nor we fully recover. Filming that scene was hard, says Stenberg: “I had this understanding the whole time that this was real. Even though I personally...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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