The highly anticipated film adaptation of Angie Thomas’ phenomenal YA debut, The Hate U Give, brings an all-too-familiar and heartbreaking story to life onscreen. It portrays the political and personal tumult caused when a black teenager, Khalil, is murdered by a white police officer. Khalil’s close friend, Starr, has to decide whether or not to speak out about what she witnessed in the passenger seat of his car.
As I watched, I couldn’t stop thinking about how important it is to note the amount of joy within Starr’s world. As vital as it is for fiction to reflect the injustices our communities are facing every single day, our hope and the beauty that can be found in our relationships is just as screen-worthy. Some of the most notable and beautiful moments in this movie centered on Starr’s relationship with her parents and siblings.
(Note: spoiler ahead!)
In one tear-jerking scene, Starr’s father Maverick tells his children to line up on the grass in front of him after Starr tearfully apologizes for deciding to go public as the witness and making their family a target. Maverick reminds them that he chose their names on purpose for the special meanings that lie behind them. When they’re ready to speak, he insists, they shouldn’t hesitate to do it.
“Don’t ever let nobody make you be quiet,” he says, locking eyes with each of them.
Maverick’s continued encouragement for his children to be unapologetically proud of their blackness is the strongest message behind this awesome adaptation, and one that I’ll never get tired of absorbing.
The Hate U Give film adaptation is in theaters now.