If you haven’t heard about The Hate U Give yet, get ready for the media firestorm that’s sure to hit soon. The Hate U Give is the debut YA novel from Angela Thomas and is the first book of this magnitude to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Hate U Give pulls its title from 2Pac’s famous T.H.U.G. tattoo. The story centers around Starr, a teenager who attends an upscale private school while living in an impoverished neighborhood. After witnessing the police shooting death of her unarmed friend, she must testify in court and make some tough decisions about what and what not to say.
The book was part of a major bidding war between more than 13 different publishing houses, but it was HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray that won out and will be publishing the book later this year after negotiating a reported six-figure deal.
The buzz around this book has already caught Hollywood’s attention as well. Fox 2000 has acquired rights to the film project, and The Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg has been tapped to star in the major motion picture.
Once the book and movie are released, this will arguably be the most visible moment for the Black Lives Matter movement to date. It’s further proof that this grassroots movement is one of the most important movements happening across the US. And it’s clear there’s plenty of room for it to keep growing. The interest of the Hollywood studios and major publishers indicates there’s a huge audience out there that wants to keep talking.
Black Lives Matter was recently profiled in Fast Company for its innovative approach to grassroots campaigning and its effective mobilization of supporters all around the nation with little more than the use of social media. Despite the controversy that has surrounded some of the movement’s efforts (i.e. crashing political rallies and speeches), people are listening.
Aside from continuing to give visibility to the movement, this is a huge step forward in the realm of diversity in Hollywood. This is a story about the complexities of today’s black America that was the subject of a major bidding war and already has a film in development prior to the release of the book. It’s inspiring to see young black creators at the center of highly sought after work. This is the type of opportunity we’ve been looking for when we speak about diversity in Hollywood.
The Hate U Give promises to be a step in the right direction not only for Black Lives Matter, but for diversity in general.