In addition to being an author, I am first and foremost, a reader. Whenever I read a good book, I literally can’t and won’t shut up about it. So, step into my virtual office/library/reading space and let me put you up on the latest book I read that has me gushing about it!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Let’s start with the title. It’s based off an acronym that was first used by (as well as tattooed on) the late, great, Tupac Amaru Shakur. While ‘Pac’s acronym meant something different (T.H.U.G .L.I.F.E.= The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody), it was super lit that Angie took that, expounded on it and made it her own for this story.
Then there’s the cover. Look at it. Just simple and gorgeous and powerful all at once, and so befitting, once you read the story.
Without giving the entire plot away, I can tell you that the books plot centers around the shooting and killing of an unarmed, black teenage boy, and the girl (Starr) who quite literally had a front row seat to witness it.
This book, to me, cast a huge, huge spotlight on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Again, without giving the entire plot away, the journey the book takes us (the readers) on, through Starr’s point of view, felt so personal to me. So very relatable. On one hand, she had people telling her not to say anything about what she saw, because it could mean discomfort for her family. On the other hand, she had people wanting her to soak up the attention that this tragic incident had brought her way. Then, there was the small voice inside of her that she could barely hear because of all the loud outside opinions and interference. At one point or time, all of us had people in our ear, trying to sway our decisions about something.
This book was phenomenal! It’s no wonder that it debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller’s List and was optioned to become a film—before it even came out! The film will star some of black Hollywood’s favorites, including: Amandla Stenberg as Starr. This young lady has already starred in the film adaptations of Everything, Everything, the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, and, of course I can’t forget her appearance in Queen Bey’s short film, Lemonade! Regina Hall (Think Like A Man) as Lisa, Starr’s take-no-mess momma. Common (Just Wright), Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure), and Algee Smith (BET’s The New Edition Story), to name a few!
There’s no release date yet on the movie, but we’re all patiently waiting for more black excellence to hit the screen!
Review outcome: 5/5 bookworm stars!
Movies & Film
Read on for a review of Black Panther that explores another of the films many layers, but heads up, this review contains major movie spoilers!
*makes X symbol across chest with arms*
Greetings, my Wakandan brothers and sisters!
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
I’ve been to see Black Panther twice since it came out and each time I found something else to love about the movie! Apparently, I’m not the only one who loved it, because even now, a few weeks since the films debut, the internet is still awash with everythang Black Panther!
M’Baku is everybody’s MCM—I’m not going to lie, Winston Duke, who plays the raw, masculine character is FOINE. Not fine, but FOINE. Mmkay?!—Pictures of King T’Challa (portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) have now replaced the staple ‘Black Jesus’ picture in everybody’s house, and Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje (portrayed by Danai Gurira) has all the ladies rocking the fierce bald heads!
So, yup, it’s safe to say, this movie is one for the ages AND one for the CULTURE! Speaking of culture, beneath the ethereal cinematography and the beautiful, regal sets and costumes, that’s exactly what the film—in my opinion—was about: our stolen culture.
Personally, I didn’t see Erik AKA Killmonger as a villain. Not exactly. I saw a hurt, lost, confused young black man. There’s an African Proverb that has been circling the internet, and it is so apt to the core plot of Black Panther that it gave me the chills.
(Image credit to Makamba Online)
In my opinion, one of the many read-between-the-line messages in the movie is this: the African AMERICAN man vs the African Man, the n*gga versus the African.
Two different sides of the same coin.
One side is the result of being snatched away from a rich, vibrant culture and land. The other side is a reminder of that. A painful, painful reminder of everything that could have and SHOULD have been. It probably ate at Killmonger every single day that he struggled growing up in Oakland, CA, knowing that somewhere across the world, his people were living a completely different, beautiful reality. I think in real life, there are probably people who feel this exact same way. This life, the one that we African American’s live is an adaptation to our circumstances, but I truly believe we as a people come from royalty. There’s hope of us getting back to that, but not all of us will make it.
Unfortunately, Killmonger was so far gone that he literally asked to die instead of living in ‘bondage’ the way that he already had for so many years. His last line, though? Made every hair on my body stand up and instantly brought tears to my eyes because it was just that powerful and truthful. I felt those words in my soul!
So, between the spot-on casting, the sets, the outfits/makeup, the special effects, the MUSIC—shout to Kendrick Lamar for the Black Panther soundtrack, it’s a banger!—and the supremely well-written script, this movie is a legend that future generations will revere in the same way we revere movies like Roots, The Color Purple, and many more.
Review outcome: 5/5 buckets of popcorn!
Film: Movies to Watch For (MTWF)
A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava Duvernay, a rising star in the film industry, is based upon the book of the same name, written by Madeleine L’Engle. I hear there are some very notable difference from the book that take place in the movie, so it’ll be interesting to see how the public receives them! The movie stars some of our favorite brown girls, including, Storm Reid as main character, Meg Murry, and Oprah, as Mrs. Which. In theaters on March 9th, 2018.
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, is another MTWF! Perry has cast the lively and gorgeous, Taraji P. Henson as the main character. Henson also starred in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself in 2009. Acrimony, which was filmed in part in my hometown, home of the Steelers—you know, the first and ONLY football team to ever have 6 Super Bowl rings—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a plot that centers around a marriage gone terribly wrong. It doesn’t hit theaters until March 30th, 2018, but you can check out more about the film here.
Kiarra M. Taylor is a proud Pittsburgher who currently resides in San Jose, California. She is a mother to a handsome son, as well as a beautiful daughter. A lifelong bookworm, Kiarra began writing in the fifth grade and hasn’t stopped since. Her published works include: A Series of Agains and The Quarter Change. When she isn’t transferring fictional worlds from the dredges of her mind onto her laptop, you can find her nose-deep in a book, or spending time with her children. Ever the social butterfly, Kiarra is very active on social media, so please feel free to catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads!