'The Hate U Give' Film Stills

Source: Courtesy of Evelyn Santana / Bazan PR

The official trailer for The Hate U Give is our first look at Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter, the teenage protagonist of Angie Thomas’ acclaimed novel who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of police. Also starring Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, and more, the film chronicles how Starr finds her voice amid community pressure while juggling identities between her poor, mostly Black, neighborhood and her rich, mostly white, prep school.

“I first got the idea to write the story when I was a senior in college,” Thomas said during a panel conversation at New York City’s BookCon earlier this month. “I was a lot like Starr at that time. I lived in these two very different worlds: my neighborhood, which was mostly Black, and my school, which was a mostly white, private, upper-class Christian college in conservative Mississippi. My classmates were basically those Trump voters who say that they love Jesus but don’t want anyone to have any rights.”

Stenberg added that her experience growing up was also similar to Starr’s.

“I think what’s really special about Starr’s narrative when it comes to the code switch of her identity is that at the end of the film, she learns how to feel cohesive in herself, and realizes that she doesn’t need to choose one side of herself,” she stated. “She can be however she wants to be in her environment without being afraid of being called ratchet or being afraid of seeming angry or of seeming over the top. She learns how to break free of those burdens, and also realizes that those two sides of herself don’t need to be warring sides but can coexist in a really beautiful, harmonious way to make her the person that she is.”

In what will surely live on as one of Stenberg’s most important performances, THUG also provides a critical perspective regarding how kids are affected by police brutality in their communities.

The George Tillman, Jr.-directed film hits theaters on October 19. Watch the stirring trailer below.

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