The Hate U creator Angie Thomas reflects on how the spirit of Tupac hovers all over the movie – and confirms that she received a seal of approval from the late rappers family.
The Hate U Give stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter – a 16-year-old black girl who witnessed the murder of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer – and is based on Angies 2017 novel of the same name.
The drama – which also stars Girls Trips Regina Hall and Riverdales KJ Apa as Starrs boyfriend and Common as her uncle Carlos – is receiving critical acclaim for Amandlas performance but also criticism from book fans who argue a dark skin actress should have landed the starring role.
The story is titled after rapper Tupacs iconic T.H.U.G L.I.F.E concept: The Hate You Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody, an acronym the 30-year-old writer insists she received permission to use as a sign of respect.
Angie hopes the book and the movie will serve as a legacy for the late rapper as she admitted that the spirit of Tupac hovers through every scene in the tragic yet inspirational film.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, the New York Times bestseller said: Tupac is a huge inspiration to me. I first got woke listening to Pac. I remember being like eight years old listening to him for the first time and he said: “They got money for wars but cant feed the poor”.
I remember thinking “dang, this guy is right!” Here my family is struggling, and here they are putting billions and billions of dollars in war. Whats up with that?
Tupac, who died in September 1996 after a fatal drive-by shooting, was famed for his controversial statements but also for his passion for the black community in America and inspiration rap lyrics.
And it is this that inspired Angie to write her Black Lives Matter movie as well as act as an executive producer, said: So I often said that I want to write the way that he raps. You know a Tupac song could make you think, another could make you cry another. One could make you laugh and one could make you do something.
So thats what I want my writing to do. If honoured his legacy in anyway on this story, I feel like Ive done something because he was such a huge influence on me.
The All Eyez On Me hitmaker is often mentioned in the 2 hours 12-minute feature and his legacy is used as a backbone for most scenes – something which Tupacs family and his group Outlawz has praised the story for doing.
Confirming that permission was granted, Angie said: Fox and my publishers spoke to the estate so that everything would be clear. Its important to me that that was done because in order to respect him I have to respect those closest to him.
The Mississippi native also told us how touched she felt knowing that the Poetic Justices rappers family and friends are celebrating the movie.
I met his godfather Jamal Joseph, one of the Panther 21 and he had seen the movie and said: “You did it! Thats exactly what Pac wanted” and for me thats important, she said.
The self-confessed fan added: Ive been told he has little cousins who read the book and love it. So his family love what has been done with this and thats an important thing to me.
Since he isnt here and they approve thats what matters.
Book fans will be pleased to know that there will still be elements of surprises for them as there is an emotional alternative ending involving Starrs younger brother Sekani, played by 10-year-old TJ Wright.
George [Tilman JR] told me, when he brought the idea to me, that he wanted to give a visual to the concept of T.H.U.G L.I.F.E, she said speaking of the director, who was also attached to the Biggie biopic Notorious.
She added: He wanted to bring a visual so people could really understand what it really meant and why that was such a running theme throughout the book.
And whats so powerful about this ending scene is that you see this little boy in this situation and I hope that people walk away from that releasing that the young man that plays Sekani is much younger than Tamir Rice [12-year-old American killed by a police officer] – and the other boys we talk about so often – people make him older than he is just like they do young black kids.
Speaking on the effects the ending scene will have on movie-goers, Angie admits that it has received the strongest reaction.
I think that scene is going to affect a lot of people. Every screening Ive gone to, thats the one I hear noise from people that dont even talk in movies, the producer, who also has a cameo in the film, revealed.
You know like the boujee white folks that are silent and they are like “OH NO” and they finally get it! And I want them to walk away from that remembering that scene.
The Hate U Give is out in UK cinemas on Monday 22 October.
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