So I was pondering on when or If I was going to talk about this. I debated on making a post last month when it happened, but I figured that since I was doing this Black History Month series, it was better to talk about it now. Last month I was watching “The Hate U Give“. I wanted to see it when it came out in theaters but didn’t get a chance to do so. When I saw it was playing on FX, I was so ready to see it and wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it, so I set a reminder for myself. It’s a good thing I did because I most certainly forgot (anyone else has a terrible memory at a young age?). As the movie starts, I’m excited to see it. It’s going pretty good so far…and then it gets closer to that moment.
*Trigger Warning and Spoiler warning: If talk of police brutality, death, etc. is triggering then please don’t continue. Also, if you’ve never seen the movie and don’t want it ruined, then don’t continue*
That moment where you know the black teen boy is about to get shot by the white cop. The moment that’s known, not just because they showed tidbits of that scene in the promo, but because it’s the perfect set up. The perfect scene. Two black teens riding at night with Tupac blasting in the car. They just pulled out and instantly police sirens blast. It was then that my heart started to race just a bit. I was anticipating that part like you anticipate something happening in a thriller when that music plays. You know the kind. Moments were leading up to him being shot…
The cop asking for ID.
The boy not being scared but annoyed and having an attitude.
The girl being scared trying to tell him to stop and listen.
The boy being told to get out the car.
The moments were leading up and I just became so antsy that I felt like I couldn’t even watch. I had to just go inside my closet to look for something. What was I looking for?
A diversion from the screen.
Then, I heard it. It was the gunshot I knew was coming. The boy was shot and killed. Of course, it was because he thought the boy was pulling out a weapon when it was just a hairbrush. The words he let out when the girl told him it was just a brush and when he saw it laying there next to the now dying black teen boy? “Oh shit!” Yup, those were the only words he let out besides telling the handcuffed girl not to move. I went back to my TV, honestly surprised at how I was even feeling before that moment. I brushed it off and kept watching the movie. I was fine the rest of the way. I even made a slight joke to myself about how I swear I saw the boy breathing while he was in the casket. But then, as the movie goes on, there’s this scene. The scene is a black father, the father of the girl who was a witness at the scene, being put to the ground by police in front of a restaurant. Everyone is outside with their phones recording. Of course, the cop that’s on top of the father is yelling at the girl to put her phone away, but she yells right back that he has the right to record. There’s something about that scene that did it to me.
Then the tears began to roll.
These weren’t just “my eyes are watery” type of tears. These were turning into full-blown, possibly ugly cry, tears. I’m sitting there trying to hold some back just so I’m not full out bawling (even though I was practically there). As I’m crying, I’m thinking to myself “Am I triggered right now?” It’s funny because I was naming the actors I knew and saying where I knew them from. I’m crying, possibly triggered, just trying to make this movie, well, seem like it’s just a movie. Unfortunately, my efforts failed. Through different parts of the movie, I couldn’t help but cry.
The interviews that the girl went through just to get asked questions that could make the boy look bad.
People siding with the cop.
The riots because no justice was served.
Cops with shields to protect themselves from unarmed black people.
The tear gas…
If at any point you were reading this and you forgot that I was talking about a movie and not something on the news, then realize that this is not just a movie. This is reality. I began crying during the riot scene in the movie because I shed those same tears watching some riots on live news. I didn’t expect to become triggered. I didn’t expect to ever ball my eyes out during the movie or to still ball them out moments after the movie was over. Unfortunately, this is reality. This is being tired. This is being confused as to why we [black people] have to even go through all of this in the first place, but having to live on without that closure. This is knowing that there are so many cops out there who’s only consequence will ever be or have ever been the moment of “oh shit” before they’re sent home on PAID leave.
This is being black.
To the nonblack person or non-POC (person of color) reading this: if you’re not black or a person of color, then I hope that this sheds a little light on really what goes through our minds when this happens. On what we feel. You’ll never know or understand, but sometimes, you just need a moment to feel what we feel our entire lives.
To the black person reading this: Hug your family. Talk to them. Talk to your community. Talk to a therapist who can 100% understand. I think that it’s so amazing we can commune with other races and ethnicities, but in some situations, you just need your own community.
*deep breath* Whew!
Not all of my posts will be this deep, but this is black history month. Knowing about black history, the amazing black historic figures, and all of the inventions may be sweet but learning black history isn’t always cookies and creme.
Take care of yourselves.
You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.Malcom x