The 2018 film The Hate U Give is based on the book of the same title written by Angie Thomas. Both the book and the movie are phenomenal. The movie has strong performances by Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, KJ Apa, and Anthony Mackie. It is important to specifically call attention to Amandla and Russell in particular because they breathed life into these amazingly written characters.
This YA movie goes above and beyond its mandate and shows how much the genre can do. The movie received critical acclaim for bringing to life the powerful story Angie Thomas had written and is still relevant years after its release. Here are some of the best quotes that capture the many intense moments in the movie.
Updated by Lianna Tedesco on November 26th, 2020: The Hate U Give has so far surpassed the young adult novel genre and seemingly transcended fiction to not only reflect reality in the world as we know it but the power that comes along with using one’s voice to speak up against racism. Starr, a character that displays tremendous strength and courage in both the novel and the movie, learns how to find her voice while speaking for those who can’t. Systematic racial injustice might be the pivotal driving force behind this novel but its message, and the notion that standing together is far more powerful than standing divided, is also ingrained in history’s truth.
15 “Know Your Rights. Know Your Worth.”
Maverick Carter doesn’t hold back and neither does this movie. From the very first scene, it draws you into the difficult and tense life of the family and the community to which they belong.
Maverick is very practical when he sits down with his little children to explain to them how to behave if and when the cops were to stop them. It’s a powerful scene when these little kids, Starr and Seven, along with a baby Sekani, sit at the dining table paying close attention to their father.
14 “Their Cuteness Can Be Extra, But They’re Adorable.”
In one of the lighter scenes early in the movie, the viewers hear in a voiceover what Starr thinks about her parents. This was a couple that no one expected would stay together, yet they did.
And they were still so in love with each other. It’s quite adorable to watch Starr feel so strongly about her parents, about whom she says – “they’re my OTP.” Throughout the movie, viewers will be able to see what a great team Maverick and Lisa are, and how much they love each other.
13 “So When I’m Here, I’m Starr Version 2.”
Starr lives two different lives. One in Garden Heights- where she lives, and one is Williamson- where she goes to school. These are drastically different communities; one predominantly Black and the other, white. Early on in the movie, Starr finds it difficult to reconcile her identities and sort of does code-switching when she moves from home to school.
Initially, when viewers are introduced to the version of herself she performs at school, it is easy to understand the difficulties she faces in being herself at either place.
12 “Slang Makes Them Cool. Slang Makes Me Hood.”
This particular scene from when viewers first see her in school is quite fascinating and revealing. It features a bunch of white kids who use slang very casually. Starr version 2 is very adamant that she will not say anything that a rapper might. She understands that her more privileged white friends can appropriate Black culture without facing any consequences.
But she also knows that if she were to talk in that manner, she’d be perceived very differently. This YA movie is able to use such small situations to draw out the difference in the experiences that Starr faces in a school like this.
11 “Well, You Ask Questions About What Happened.”
The interrogation scene immediately after Khalil’s death is quite painful to watch. It’s even more painful when the officers interrogating Starr only ask questions about Khalil- his drinking habits, his drug habits, and so on. Starr and Lisa get rightly angry about this and it is Lisa who says the above line in the movie demanding if Starr be interrogated at all, she’d be asked questions about what actually happened.
This scene very succinctly captures how narratives are formed and how asking certain questions or not asking certain questions carry a lot of meaning.
10 “Shine Your Light. I Ain’t name You Starr By Accident.”
Maverick is an incredible father. He is a strong role-model for Starr, Seven, and Sekani. The situation Starr had found herself in was a painfully difficult one. She was the sole witness in a case that usually never had witnesses like this.
She had a really painful and difficult opportunity to make a difference… It was a situation where she had a voice that she could possibly use. She is understandably scared but Maverick stands by her solid as a rock. He wants her to not be afraid, and do what needs to be done.
9 “Where You Live Does Not Define Who You Are, Maverick.”
Starr is threatened by King because she might mention that Khalil was forced to deal drugs for him. Lisa on hearing this wants them to move out of Garden Heights for the fear of Starr’s and her family’s life. Maverick however is quite determined not to move. He thinks he can do good for the community only if they stay there.
He thinks change comes from within. But Lisa more practically tries to explain to him that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. And that it is okay to make sacrifices for your family. It’s a situation bound to throw viewers into the same dilemma these characters face as well.
8 “I Wanna Be A Better Friend For Khalil.”
This was not the first time that Starr had seen someone get shot. Her friend Natasha had also died in front of her when they were younger. Starr didn’t speak up for Natasha back then even though she knew who the person who killed Natasha was. She was really young and she was scared of snitching.
And even though she was only 16 now, she felt like this time she had to speak up and make sure she was a better friend to Khalil. It is painful to watch the (unfair) guilt and trauma Starr has to go through at such a young age.
7 “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Make You Quiet.”
Really unfortunate events follow Starr’s interview on TV. And she feels personally responsible and thinks she made a mistake by speaking out the truth. Maverick then makes sure his kids are reminded of the lessons he gave them.
He reminds Starr and her brothers that no matter what happens, they should never let anybody intimidate them into silence. He tells them that they are “his reasons to live and reasons to die.” It’s a powerful moment when he tells Starr to make sure that no one ever shuts down her voice.
6 “How Many Of Us Have To Die Before Y’all Get It?”
The dramatic tension is at a peak in this scene. It’s emotional, raw, and powerful. In a voiceover, viewers hear exactly what is going through Starr’s head as she raises her hands and steps in front of Sekani at whom the cops have pointed their guns.
Sekani is the little kid who has been given hate and who is on the verge of “f-ing up things”, and she realizes painfully that, “It is not the hate you give. It is the hate we give.”
5 “She swore raising the dead was more likely than Mama and Daddy making it. They stay proving her and everybody else wrong. And in large part, that means making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes.”
This line happens early on in the movie as Starr explains how her parents met and eventually fell in love. The story follows the novel in terms of what both of her parents overcame in order to create such a beautiful family and have a successful life, and this line reflects Starr’s admiration for them both.
There are key phrases in this quote, such as Starr saying that they ‘stay proving her (Starr’s nana) and everybody else wrong,’ which echo the bigger picture of racial injustice and how Starr, ultimately, proves the entire world wrong, starting with her own community.
4 “Mama, I need to speak for him.”
This quote is part of a longer line by Starr that goes, ‘They’re acting like Khalil was murdered just so that they can skip a chem test, and I didn’t do anything about it.’ At such a young age, she still goes on to acknowledge how wrong it is for people who didn’t know Khalil to use his death in vain for their own selfish gain, which, in essence, is what was happening prior to this line. At this moment, Starr is frustrated yet empowered with the notion that if no one else will speak for her best friend, then she will.
This is also one of the pivotal moments in which Starr finds the strength and the courage to speak up, bearing witness to the tragedy and injustice surrounding Khalil’s murder.
3 “We are all witnesses to this injustice! We see it all, and we will not stop until the world sees it too! We will not stop protesting!”
One of the most emotional and powerful scenes in the entire movie – as well as in the novel – is when Starr finally finds her voice. Throughout the entire time prior, her anger, frustration, and sense of purpose has been growing, only needing an outlet in order to find her footing.
That ends up being a protest after the police officer who killed Khalil was able to walk free occurs, when Starr is handed a megaphone by April, valiantly climbs on top of a car, and uses it to speak her – and Khalil’s – truth. Everything that happened up to this point served as the buildup to this final moment in which Starr finds clarity through the justified confusion and anger around her.
2 “We live in a complicated world, Starr.”
In stark contrast to many of the other people Starr is surrounded by, her uncle Carlos is one who can’t quite see the whole picture as she can. While he’s a cop, his career seems to have blinded him from the injustices that also surround him and the people he has sworn to protect. On one hand, Carlos is empathetic to Starr’s cause and feels for her losing Khalil.
On the other hand, his career is part of his life and prevent him from seeing how dire the situation is, and how police brutality has found its way into his own personal life.
1 “Division is how they win. Unity is how they crumble.”
April Ofrah is a powerful and influential person in The Hate U Give and eventually ends up helping Starr to find her voice at a protest. At Khalil’s funeral, April shows up, saying plain and clear how Khalil’s murder is part of a bigger picture and that this is not the first, nor will it be the last, injustice, lest they do something to stop it. In her conversation with Starr, she explains how the police make it their mission to divide the Black community to remain in control, which is why ‘unity’ is how they will eventually be overcome.
This simple quote says so much and is so powerful, echoing loud and clear, especially in today’s world.