Based on the best-selling novel by Angie Thomas, the title of both the film and novel finds it’s roots in late recording artist, Tupac Shakur. According to Shakur, THUG LIFE was actually an acronym standing for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone’.
Starr Carter (played by Amandla Stenberg of “The Hunger Games”) has trouble separating her predominately Black community, Garden Heights and her predominately white school, Williamson Prep. Starr often feels torn between the two worlds. Starr frequently changes up her pattern of speech, and behavior patterns to blend in with the appropriate environment. After the shooting and death of her childhood friend Khalil (a Black male) at the hands of a white cop, Starr is hesitant to open up about the murder — afraid that her white friends, Hailey and Maya, and white boyfriend, Chris, are not going to empathize with issues that affect the black community such as this one. Starr believes that she is too much of an outsider to discuss the tragedy with her school peers, as well as within her community.
Personally, the film stole my heart upon a single viewing. It is a poignant, strongly written narrative I can identify with, and as far as I know — this is the first motion picture the country has seen of this caliber since 1991’s fan favorite “Boyz n the Hood” directed by the late John Singleton. This film isn’t one told from a shallow perspective; I feel that Angie Thomas, the creator of the novel on which the film is based comprehends the baffling actuality that resolving many of the world’s horrific issues wouldn’t be an easy task. The psyches of non-minority individuals who aren’t being influenced would definitely take more time to understand it.
As a man of color myself, I respect the manner in which the film utilizes the story and character portrayals to talk about the way society uses stereotypes of Black people to justify violence and racism against them. These generalizations give white communities a warped sense of security. For example, the student body at Starr’s school, Williamson Prep, from reflecting upon fundamental prejudice, which propagates separation. We see this partiality by the way the cop dubbed “One-Fifteen” tries to justify killing Khalil. One-Fifteen has no motivation to believe Khalil’s hairbrush is really a weapon other than One-Fifteen’s assumption that Khalil is vicious on the grounds that he is African-American. Notwithstanding, the news media and many white characters support One-Fifteen’s rendition of events believing that he was simply fulfilling his job requirements as a law enforcement officer. Carlos, Starr’s black uncle who is also a police officer, at first tries to rationalize One-Fifteen’s actions before ultimately acknowledging that he wrongly attempted to legitimize the shooting of Khalil. The media attempts to mask the prejudice in One-Fifteen’s activities by depicting them as intelligent and thus supported. For instance, news inclusion accentuates Khalil’s supposed gang associations, sustaining generalizations of Black young men as rough and perilous. After hearing these reports, Hailey — Starr’s Williamson Prep companion, reasons that Khalil was just a hooligan. The media frenzy encompassing Khalil’s demise shows how white media operates ensuring law authorization and propagating generalizations over Black lives.