“We’re living in a time where it’s easy to silence yourself before other people even begin to silence you. It’s easy to doubt your own voice,” Stenberg said. “Don’t be afraid of your own voice.”
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, which follows 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a black neighborhood but goes to a white private school. The balance between her two worlds tips when she witnesses the shooting of a childhood friend.
“Her journey is about standing up for what you believe in,” director George Tillman Jr. told The Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s rare that you get such a real, authentic and fresh portrayal of blackness, of a young black woman, of what it feels like to navigate different worlds as a contemporary black American, having to code-switch in order to survive in the different environments that you occupy,” Stenberg said.
“It’s not very often that you can really find a film that shows a 16-year-old African-American as your lead protagonist,” Tillman added, “but also she has a strong family unit, which I was very much attracted to. It’s two parents who have had struggles in the past, but they’re trying to overcome these obstacles, and pretty much try[ing] to break the cycle.”
The Hate U Give is in theaters Oct. 19.