“I do think that the film serves as an agent of change,” said actor Russell Hornsby about the film “The Hate U Give,” which was adapted from Angie Thomas‘s young adult novel of the same name about a teenage girl confronting the reality of police brutality. Hornsby and Thomas were in New York City on November 30 along with the star of the film Amandla Stenberg, director George Tillman Jr., and producer Robert Teitel to discuss the film with awards voters. Watch some of their discussion above.
Stenberg doesn’t believe the film “necessarily points to one action” to bring about change, but she does believe art provides a crucial outlet for empathy. She explained, “It grounds us in what makes us most human and reminds us of the grievances that we share, of the things that we don’t share,” and it gives us the space to understand racism not just as “intellectual debates or conversations, but as real things happening to real people.” That’s how this film “can be fuel” that powers social change, “something that ties us to the ground and gives us wings at the same time.”
Hornsby added, “We hope that change is a revolutionary process, but it’s not. Realistically, change is evolutionary. Revolution is quick change. Evolution is change over time. So you just hope that this can have an evolutionary change.”
Tillman and Stenberg also discussed what moved them about Thomas’s novel and what made them want to adapt it into a film (watch that below). “I was also so moved by the power that the book had, that Angie had by putting her heart on the page,” said Stenberg, who felt the author was “brave to take these events and these things that happen and put them in a human context in a way that afforded us the humanity that we deserve.”
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