The Hate U Give Full Review SPOILERS

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Warning this review has harsh language and spoilers. Sorry it took so long, I’ve been extremely busy. Nonetheless I hope it’s enlightening.

I was lucky enough to be able to see this movie before its official release date. A movie that tackles the tough issue of race  I went in high on expectations given to me from people who, honestly I don’t usually hear talk about these issues.

That should have been my first warning.

But lets start with the good.

An all-star cast turns in a stellar performance. Amandla Stenberg is amazing as Starr Carter. She brings so much nuance to the role. Every new obstacle in her way you can see her working it out in her mind, you can see it affecting her in different ways and she pulls you into that with her. Throughout the entire movie you see her brilliance as an actor shine through despite the gross mishandling of the script’s content matter. I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to do next.

Russell Hornsby also does a stellar job as the loving and proudly militant black father. His approach channeled so many black men I know and have known throughout my own life. Men who are trying their best to operate in this society and bring up their kids the best way they know how.

Of course Regina Hall is wonderful as always. Her performance in this film as the mother navigating her child’s emotional trauma while living in a place she resents was brilliant.

The second warning was that, while the book was written by a black woman, a white woman wrote the screenplay. I’m a firm believer of people telling their own stories, ESPECIALLY when it’s a story that revolves entirely around their identity or the oppression becoming of that identity. When others, especially those of the oppressing class get behind the reigns, they often (read: Always) get things wrong even in simple translation.

This film made me tired. Rather it made me realize just how tired I am of all these tropes.

I’m tired of the well-meaning white boy who doesn’t “Get it.”(wrinkle in time, dear white people the movie AND the series) Who’s colorblind, racist and or abusive foolishness is always satiated with a kiss and promise of hot and heavy affection down the line. He’s clearly their outreach to white people. “We still love you white people” this trope coos to them. “We still love you while you kill us, we just want you to do better that’s all” it sighs while lovingly stroking their hair. He’s there to coddle the white producers and give a boost to the egos of those funding the project, to make them feel like “hey that’s me” instead of them being the racist cop(spoiler alert they are usually the racist cop).

I’m tired of watching black people shot to death in real life and on film. It feels like trauma porn. Why did we have to see that so vividly? And if it(this movie) wasn’t for black people, why the focus on crime in the community?(more on that later)

I’m tired of the light-skinned caught between two worlds girl. I want to hear from the people who were ACTUALLY around Khalil. I want to hear from the unambiguous black girl who lives in the hood, stays in the hood and has no escape from the trauma. How does this affect her. Indeed Kenya’s version of the story would’ve been wonderful to hear, however we only see her as the loud, ready to fight sidekick who barely talks after the incident.

But what I’m really, REALLY tired of, is white people writing black people’s stories. There was absolutely no reason to give this script to the white scriptwriter Audrey Wells. Most of the issues with pandering to whiteness and the white gaze can most likely be attributed to this gross mishandling of storytelling. The scene where the white boy (hereafter referred to as WB) says he doesn’t see color and Starr calls him out on it only for her to forgive him as he (cornily) says “I see you” was astoundingly bad and completely misses the point. Then IMMEDIATELY after this Starr tells her dad that she’s dating WB because he didn’t show her what a good black man was, but what a good man was.

Wait

Hol up

But you just said…Chile, whew.

face palm

There’s so many better ways to say why you are dating someone outside your race…and you settled on that colorblind mess RIGHT AFTER you explained very well, why that’s bull? Nah fam, back to the drawing board.

Also that whole interaction with her and her dad was creepy af but that’s a whole separate post. It made my skin crawl even with the wonderful acting, that was just written terribly, can’t fix that.

The biggest problem was with the end of this film.

You mean to tell me that you have me sit there and watch a black man die, vividly, then deal with the inaction of police, then watch the cop get off while another black family is torn apart….

And then chalk it all up to black on black crime?

“it’s not the hate YOU give, it’s the hate WE give.”

See, no, fuck you and the horse you rode in on, and the raggedy ass inline skates you wobbling out of here on.

midfinger

This movie gets a lot right, which is why it’s so dangerous. it’s like they listened just enough to get people to listen and then switch them to the wrong side of a clear argument. People are going to walk out of this with a justification of their bs belief that black on black crime is equal to cop vs civilian murders and without an understanding of the underlying systemic issues that cause both of these things. There was a white woman in the movie theatre with me who had long grinch fingers in her hair, what she probably calls “dreadlocks.” She was a teacher and I can only imagine how emboldened her cultural appropriating arse was walking out of there. I fear for the lessons she will teach to children of all races about this topic based on this film.

And you mean to tell me that in the same movie a cop thinks a brush is a gun, but rolls up on an actual black child with an actual gun pointing it at an actual human being and they don’t shoot? And we watch the black guy go to jail but still nothing of the cop and that’s the happy ending?

side eye
Nah, not feelin’ it

Although the performances in the film were outstanding, moving, and ultimately some of the best I’ve seen this year…this movie gets no stars. As a general rule, steer clear of black trauma porn masquerading as a movie for black folks that’s really for sell-outs and fox news pundits.

no stars
Absolute zero

Thanks for reading ya’ll. Fuck this movie.

 

 

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If You Haven’t Seen It Review -Space is The Place

Sun ra space

Space is the Place in this Afrofuturistic film. Why stay on earth and face constant harassment, beatings, caste systems, and overall oppression? When a place waits for us amongst the stars? Sun Ra, after being reported missing for years, returns to earth and battles for the fate of the black race. With stunning costumes and riveting dialogue, this is one film that should be in every filmmakers library. From visuals, to social issues, this film covers a lot of ground.

Sun Ra and The aptly named Overseer are battling for the future of black people. Sun Ra has found a place that black people can go just be black without any oppression. For him it’s just a matter of transportation. Molecularization or music? It’s a beautiful dream. But when he gets back to Earth he’s immediately confronted with the type of black person that wouldn’t want this to happen at all.  The Overseer enlists the help of a black media personality to get his word out to the masses. The interaction between these two is a reflection of what really happens with these media types. Always dangling a promise of something they want in their face, then when they do the job, and they don’t get what they want…the overseer does. The needle is always moving. There are many parallels to be drawn between this film and the real world and that’s the point.
One of the great things about this film is the dialogue that occurs between the overseer and Sun Ra. The overseer at one point singles out a black man, a pimp, who has beaten a woman and asks Sun Ra. “Is this what you want to save?” A pertinent question indeed. Questions actually abound in this film and leaves you with more afterwards. Beautiful questions, especially for the time period.  Another line I love is “White people have already touched the moon, I see they haven’t invited you.” They begin listening to him when they realize there’s not much going here and as nobody is investing in a new start for them here, why not make space their place?

The plot and dialogue were great, suffers from a bit of stiff acting from Sun Ra but nothing to distracting.

One major point that I must make. Besides the women in his “Arkestra” there aren’t too many black women, none as leads to be sure. The ones(outside of the singers) we see are sex workers, and disbelievers with “attitude.” The one recurring black woman immediately strips, then gets beaten by white Nasa scientists after laughing at their impotence. It seems in this world black women who aren’t singing or having sex aren’t seen as implicitly worthy of saving as the black men are. Now, the disrespect of black women is definitely one of the themes, however I do believe the lack of care when crafting the black women characters is a direct contradiction to their stance on this issue and thus completely eradicates the intersections between black woman oppression and overall black oppression. In this dream of a future, I don’t believe I saw any black women on that ship other than his singers. It throws off the balance and makes it seem like the disrespect is a sidebar instead of a major issue. This is a huge problem for a film with such a progressive message. So that knocks down the rating.

I give this film 3.5 stars out of 5. Just can’t look past a progressive theme with a regressive treatment of black women.

3-5-stars

 

The other problem with films like this is that 44 years later, we’re asking the same questions and dreaming the same dream. But if you love sci-fi blended smoothly with social issues I definitely suggest you Check it out.

Thanks for reading!

Wow, that’s al…

Wow, that’s all I can say at this point. Its 2012 and its really showing now, this is where it all comes to a head. See back in the heyday of the comic industry nobody wanted to make black superheroes. Now in this new age we are slapped in the face with it everyday. Oh go check out “The avengers!” go check out “The dark knight”! Go check out “Captain America”! Go check out “Green Lantern”. What do all these movies have in common? They are comic book adaptations of superheroes that are all caucasian. Now I’m not talking about the quality of these movies, I’m one of the world’s biggest batman fans, but the fact remains that African Americans do not have many superheroes and the ones that are made are made just because they need a black hero. Giving us original names such as “Black lightning”, “Black panther”, “Bronze tiger”, we get it they’re black…but unfortunately until recently not much else. 

The crazy part is THERE ARE GREAT BLACK SUPERHEROES. Unfortunately most of them have only a small following because they have never been promoted. Icon and Static are two of my very favorite heroes, yet no movie of either of them yet. Icon can easily go head to head with superman and in fact did one time punching him through the Justice league watch tower. Static eventually becomes the most powerful hero in the DC universe. Both heroes are great role models. So why haven’t they been given the exposure they deserve? Why am I still hearing “black people can’t be superheroes”? 

Now they want us to get excited about “Falcon” being in the new Captain america movie. Yippie…a sidekick who talks to birds, right that’s a real hero…So now that my little rant is over lets get into the facts. The facts are that Dwayne McDuffie is responsible for some of the best (and only original) Black superheroes. Milestone comics did more for African Americans in the comic book industry than any other group ever did. But if you notice after Mr. Mcduffie’s untimely death, all that he did has been slowly reversed, they no longer use John Stewart for the green lantern, many of the black superheroes that were featured prominently in The justice league are gone. Perhaps most disturbing, in the television show batman the brave and the bold which featured team ups with almost every single hero in the dc universe, he didn’t team up with any milestone characters even one time. 

Marvel you’re next! Teasing the populace year after year with a black panther movie is a little much don’t you think?  I thank you for the first two blade movies an awesome job but most people forget that those movies helped kick off the comics-movie wave. This lack of black superheroes has resulted in there being almost zero black action stars. it translates now to the movie industry. 

Wiseguy Industries is working on this. Cain the Conqueror will be the first of many heroes for all races and its not about their race. They will be superheroes of all colors but their colors will not make them. Thank you for your time.