January 17, 2019

A Coming-of-Age Story for the Era of Black Lives Matter

“The short story that begat Angie Thomas’ breakthrough young adult novel “The Hate U Give” was inspired by the shooting of Oscar Grant III, the Oakland, Calif., African-American 22-year-old who was shot by a white transit police officer in 2009.

In the years that followed, more shootings followed and Thomas kept on writing. Now, a year and a half after “The Hate U Give” became a bestselling phenomenon, Thomas’ book has been adapted to the big screen by director George Tillman Jr. from a screenplay by Audrey Wells with just as much honesty and urgency as were in Thomas’ first pages. And the tale’s timeliness has painfully persisted.

“This film will empower a lot of people and give them hope,” said Thomas in an interview shortly after the film’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere. “It’s going to explain some things to people who don’t get it. I think it’s going to open a lot of eyes and change a lot of perspectives, and hopefully help people understand why we say ‘black lives matter’ so that eventually we won’t have to say it. It’ll be understood.””

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