Amandla Stenberg and The Hate U Give creators talk systemic racism, Black Lives Matter and the role of media
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Amandla Stenberg fronts The Hate U Give as Starr, a teenager torn between as sense of responsibility to her black community after her friend is shot by a cop, and her desire to fit in at her rich, predominantly white high school. The story is based on Angie Thomas’ best-selling novel of the same name, and is directed by George Tillman Jr. “It’s been surreal,” states Thomas. “The book came out last year and here we are a year later at the London film premiere, that’s incredible to me. I’m honoured to know that the book has touched so many people that they’ve decided to turn it into a film, so I hope that the story continues to resonate with people.” It was a love story between Tillman and Stenberg, and the original book. “I was really blown away by the story, the character, her family, the journey that she takes, and I just wanted to make a small contribution to that,” explains the director. Stenberg herself had read the book long before being approached with a script. “I was given a literal bible in the form of Angie’s book and I was able to draw on that, and draw upon my own anger when it comes to the organisation and violence against black bodies.” For Stenberg, “this project really was crucial in every regard, it was like a marrying of my beliefs, what I want to do as an actress, the kind of stories I want to be a part of, and what I wanted to show the world. And I was very excited about how this narrative could touch lives… “We don’t have expectations that this film will somehow fix racism or police brutality in any way, but hopefully it will be able to cultivate a sense of empathy amongst audiences,” she adds.
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