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Teen Boy loves this book by Angie Thomas. On his recommendation, Mommy and Grams read it. The movie adaption of the book was released on Teen Boy's 15th birthday. In his honor, our family saw it with high hopes and threats. OK, we take bad selfies, but pick good movies. "The Hate U Give" is the best movie adaptation of a book in forever and a season—no complaints from us. We loved the book and the movie. It's crazy hard to condense a comprehensive book into a 2-hour film. The THUG team did it. Omitted characters and scenes make sense. There are no arguments from the readers on those fronts. Combined scenes are efficient and don't stray from the original plot. We like that. The few new things that weren't in the book are understandable even if we are reading purest rather than screenwriters sticking with the original text. 

THUG was brutal for me. I had to step away from the book a few times. It's well-written and engaging. But the Topic plucks a raw chord in my soul. I finished the book and bowed to Ms. Thomas, the author. She's not the first to write about a White cop killing a Black youth. This movie isn't the only one of the topics in theaters today - "Monsters and Men" shout out - but she deserves recognition and accolades. After my encounter with her words, I anticipated a problematic movie. It was even more so because the film lacks much of the comedic release in the book. I'm the daughter, sister, and mother of Black men. That's why the plot was challenging for me. It's as simple as that.  

THUG's plot revolves around the police shooting of an innocent young Black male, a high school student. I fear this scenario. Every. Single. Day. It's hard to watch on social media scrolls, local news, and big-budget movie screens. All of my Black / Brown male relations have been subjected to 'living while of color' police stops. The 15-year-old experienced his first two years ago. Two. Years. Ago. So yeah, I'm perpetually scared for my guys. But they have to live. They must live out loud. I get it. I encourage it. I'm still frightened for them. Whenever The Tall One drives between Baltimore and Atlanta, I'm terrified. Not once have I considered the possibility of him in a traffic accident. Each time, I fear him disappearing or us burying him while his name lives on as a hashtag. Such thoughts should thrust me into a catatonic state. They don't. I'm a Black mom with Black children. This is our life. It was my parents', theirs, and theirs before. One day, it will be no more. For now, I fear. 

Back to the movie, you want to see THUG. Not only is it topical, but the author, actors, and director get it. They know what they're portraying and how different audiences will receive it. Together, they produce the real deal. Sure, some dramatic scenes wouldn't happen in real life, but most of it is someone's truth. Starr, the protagonist, has an essential point of view. The flick is in her voice. However, there's space for the audience to digest, analyze, and decide things for themselves. 

The music throughout THUG is good. The characters are real—the acting's on point. We were tickled to recognize a few ATL spots on the screen. Shout out to the Georgia film industry. Watch this film because the topic is essential. Support female authors, screenwriters, and actors. Unfortunately, The Hate U Give screenwriter Audrey Wells passed away Thursday following a "long and private battle with cancer." I hope she understood how well she did with this project. The movie is powerful. She was a part of that.  

Parents, this plot is not for wee ones. There's violence, drug references, and swearing. Decide whether it's appropriate for your family. Perhaps preview it if you're on the fence. If you think your child can handle the subject, see it together—plan to have a meal or long ride afterward so that you can discuss it. Don't leave kids alone in their heads with this one. Work through it with them if your children aren't ready to see it go without them. Buy the book. Sooner than you think, they'll be prepared to read it. Sooner than that, you'll be having talks regarding cop shootings, the prison industrial complex, racial stereotypes, the insidious drug world, and the myth of equal opportunity. We might as well begin preparing with THUG. Please share what you think of the book and/or movie.  

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