Directed by George Tillman Jr.
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby
Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
by Jaime Davis, The Fixer
The Black Panther Party Ten-Point Program (1966 version, in bold; all un-bolded writing by Jaime Davis).
1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black Community.
We believe that Black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
I’m one of those people who’s hugely influenced by films. Over the years, movies have been my church, my rock, my friend, my parental guides. For the most serious of serious films, I have a hard time separating fact from fiction and read them as real (which is why I can’t handle most scary or psychological thrillers). Movies have a divine power over me and have been known to change my opinion, make me believe in the existence of love, or the existence of hate, inspire me to action, or cause me profound despair. That might sound…sad? Ridiculous? Hilarious? But it’s truth. I know not everyone views movies like I do. And yeah, I probably take them too damn seriously. On the flip side, movies can be heavily skewed and the way we interpret them highly subjective. But no matter your opinion on how movies affect you, or don’t affect you, or affect me in seemingly absurd ways, I do believe that some films hold the power to bring large groups together in positivity and love. One such recent film is The Hate U Give.
2. We Want Full Employment For Our People.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
Based off the 2017 young adult novel of the same name by author Angie Thomas, the title is a nod to Tupac Shakur’s T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. code (to read more about this, click here and scroll down), which he created with his mother, Afeni Shakur. “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone,” our story’s heroine, Starr, internalizes after her innocent friend Khalil is brutally shot in front of her by a police officer.
3. We Want An End To The Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us, and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over fifty million Black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
In Thomas’ book, the author highlights much of Shakur’s activism in the black community while outlining the Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program. In the beginning of the film, Starr’s magnanimous father, Maverick, ensures young Starr and her brothers Seven and Sekani learn and live this doctrine from an early age. It’s a powerful scene - not only is their father teaching them their value and worth as young black people, he’s forced to acknowledge the unfortunate way they’re viewed and treated by those in power, specifically those in blue, as he further explains how to appropriately conduct themselves when confronted by police. I have had bad experiences with police in the past, but nothing like Starr and her family endure on the regular. I am able to very easily and very comfortably hide behind my white privilege here - my father never had to sit me and my brother down and teach us how to protect ourselves from those trained to protect and serve. He never had to empower us to feel worth in our skin, in a world that values a select few over all others.
4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
We believe that if the White Landlords will not give decent housing to our Black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
There’s a lot of movies and books out there right now, and more coming. I know you have a lot of options, a lot of worthy and amazing titles to spend your time on. But I implore you - please spend two hours of your time on THUG. I promise you, if nothing else, you’ll get swept up in George Tillman Jr.’s confident direction, an impassioned script adaptation by Audrey Wells, and stirring and swaying performances by Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Algee Smith, and most notably Russell Hornsby. Every scene with Hornsby crackles with energy that threatens combustion at any moment. For that alone, consider giving your time. But let me also say…
5. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
I get it. This is a “story” that plays out on the news every day. Some of us may be tired. Some of us may feel overwhelmed. Some of us may feel powerless and lost.
6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
But that’s what those in power want. We cannot let the media coax us into submission, make us feel that the senseless killing of people of color and egregious abuse of power is another case of “it is what it is” defeatism. I refuse to accept this as a new normal, along with school/mass shootings and powerful male elite’s continued subjugation and shaming of women through the refusal to acknowledge or substantiate victims of harassment, abuse, and assault.
7. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.
We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self- defense.
The opening of Chi-Raq puts it best: THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. People in this country are being slaughtered. Literally, emotionally. Every day. In our backyards. In front of us. On the news. On Twitter. Why are we letting this stand?
8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.
We believe that all Black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
The Hate U Give is not the only recent film to deal with the ways in which law enforcement are blatantly killing people of color in this country for all the world to see, then justifying their fearful actions like mad. It’s not the first film of late to put the microscope on communities and the violence within as a result of marginalization. Certainly not the first film ever to shine a light on mass incarceration of black people. See BlacKkKlansman, Detroit, Fruitvale Station, Widows, Chi-Raq, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Blindspotting, just to name a very, very select few.
9. We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.
We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that Black people will receive fair trials. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being, tried by all-White juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the Black community.
If our prison system, overrun with black and brown folks acts as a kind of second-wave slavery, then the police brutality we’ve come to witness more publicly, thanks to an unmerciful news cycle coupled with the prevalence of every-man social media “journalism”, is our 21st century lynch mob. It’s the new KKK, patroling in cars instead of on horseback, in plain motherfucking sight, with the full extent of the law behind them.
10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
I fully acknowledge that my writing here is 236% bona fide white girl ranting; believe me, I realize how that may be negatively perceived by some, given the benefits accorded to me by white elite society. So if what I’ve written above doesn’t speak to you, then I hope the Black Panther doctrine did instead. I wish this was something I had been taught in school, twenty years ago, instead of having to learn it in a movie by 20th Century Fox in 2018. I wish it was something I had the wherewithal to seek out on my own, instead of letting yet another movie teach me, guide me, persuade me. But yet, that’s how I learn. It’s the movies that have a hold on me like that. If only the hate depicted in The Hate U Give was pure fiction…what would it be like to live in that world?