The Hate U Give movie, tackling timely societal themes of police brutality, racial identity and finding your voice, hits theaters this fall.
Directed by George Tillman, the 20th Century Fox film is based on Angie Thomas' 2017 acclaimed novel, which was reportedly inspired in part by the Oakland police shooting of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009.
"At the time, I remember wondering what would happen if that took place in my neighborhood and how would we react," Thomas said in a video by Walker Books. "And all of these cases started coming out, and it just fueled me — and it fueled my frustration and my anger but it also…I wanted to find a way to find hope. And I wanted to show the human side of all of these cases."
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The title of Thomas' book is actually influenced by Tupac’s iconic tattoo, "THUG LIFE," which stood for "The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody."
The film follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a 16-year-old who splits her time between the predominantly black neighborhood of Garden Heights and her largely white Williamson Prep school.
"Basically, Williamson Starr doesn't give anyone a reason to call her ghetto, and I hate myself for doing it," the girl explains in The Hate U Give movie trailer.
After she witnesses the murder of her childhood best friend Khalil (Algee Smith) — who, unarmed, is wrongfully shot and killed by a white cop — Starr is pushed to activism.
Watch the first The Hate U Give movie trailer
The official synopsis for The Hate U Give movie from Fox reads:
Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right. THE HATE U GIVE is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, with Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Common and Anthony Mackie.
"So excited and blessed to share this with u," Stenberg wrote on Instagram of the trailer’s release. "This book arrested my heart and gave me solace. Thank you for your blessing @angiethomas, we hope we’ll make you proud! 10.19.18."
"Starr is kind of navigating a lot of different identities simultaneously," Stenberg explained to a crowd at the Teen Vogue Summit earlier this month. "She is growing up in this lower income black community, but she is going to school with rich white people. She's having to figure out how to code switch, how to find her truth in the midst of having to put herself in two different boxes in order to survive... which often as black girls we have to figure out the code switch."
"You're not always going to have the answers," she advised. "To gain the strength to speak up for something you have to allow yourself the time and space to know what you're about."
The Hate U Give hits theaters October 19.