On November 18th Black Young Professionals of Detroit screened and discussed, The Hate U Give. We will try to give a summary without giving spoilers!
Based on the novel authored by Angie Thomas, by the same name, “The Hate U Give” tackles the topic of unarmed Black lives taken at the hands of police. We see tragedy unfold in front of Starr Carter, the main character, as she witnesses her friend, Khalil, being shot by a police officer, while sitting in the passenger seat of Khalil’s car. Almost immediately after the shooting, before Starr herself is able to grasp the weight of her friend’s death, she is thrust into multiple perspectives of the event she herself witnessed. One side wanted to find fault in Khalil for his actions leading up to his death, while the other side saw Khalil’s death as more of the same overzealous policing. While the main subject centers on Khalil’s death, the secondary but also prominent theme centers on Starr navigating two universes, the predominantly white, upper-class private school she attends and the black working-class neighborhood she lives in.
The movie gave attendees a lot of subject matter to discuss— starting with the title. The idea of “THUG LIFE” is artistically woven throughout the movie. Just to give you a two second Tupac primer; The rapper uses “THUG LIFE” as an acronym; which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F!@#$ Everybody.” Khalil explains the acronym to Starr, which later serves as a bit of foreshadowing when the mounting tensions and vitriol on both sides climaxes to Starr’s younger brother ultimately becoming a product and victim of THUG LIFE. Attendees discussed the ways in which THUG LIFE has contributed to society today. The discussion bore another question. “Does THUG LIFE truly F!@#$ everyone or is it just the Black community?” There was not a consensus on this question. We could agree that it may affect us as a community more but it also affects the country as a whole.
We later discussed how society fault finds as opposed to fact-find cases when a police officer kills an unarmed Black person, when parents should have the “talk” with their kids about what to do when stopped by the police and code-switching— a term used to describe the practice of alternating your language or how you express yourself while communicating in different social circles.
In all, the movie was an incredibly heartbreaking mirror of the current state of society. While it was a gut punch, to many of us, it also was a call to action to end the contributing factors to THUG LIFE.