Angie Thomas Follows Up on ‘The Hate You Give’ with the Story of an Aspiring Hip Hop Star

Author: Mahogany L. Browne

Washington Post special issue

Angie Thomas’ latest offering to the world of young adult literature is lyrics — first through the voice of a female protagonist keen to become hip-hop royalty. Like Thomas’s debut, “The Hate U Give,” the story ties into the streets of Garden Heights, a tough, pre-gentrified neighborhood that could be any urban enclave in America. Brianna “Bri” Jackson, an agile host with a hatred of ACT test prep and hip-hop, uses her diary rhythm to solve everyday problems while focusing on the impact of racial, gender, and economic disparities. After the school security breach, Brie moved from the page to the recording studio, where her figurative language sounded more like thug life than her secondhand shoe game would suggest. This colorful reimagining exhibition is the beginning of her lyrical integrity course.

As grieving mother Jay, survivor of a drug addiction epidemic, and the young daughter of murdered underground fighting rapper Lawless she never met, Brie is looking for where her father’s memory intersects with her current image. Way. As a master of ceremonies, she often found herself spitting out rhymes in hopes of creating a fate in which she would be crowned queen on her merits and earn enough money to care for her mother and brother.Until then, she’s selling snacks to help with her “needs a flying kick” fund and rhymes with Notorious BIG’s wit

This coming-of-age story depicts structurally racist moments, such as black children being stalked while grocery shopping, in a way that evokes action from allies and provides recognition for teens of color. Micro-aggression is also examined when Bri begins to question the well-meaning teacher’s messiah complex. The text asks readers to think deeply about white privilege, police brutality, and an environment designed to destroy the spirits of young people of color.

Bri’s older brother, Trey, is a star student who attended Bri’s current private school, recently graduated from college, and gives back to the family with income from a local pizzeria. His lack of job opportunities is a stark reminder that good jobs don’t always pay off, making Bree all the more eager to help her family. Meanwhile, Bri’s grandparents are on the left side of the stage as a blaming reminder of Jay’s past addictions. Bri’s aunt Pooh is right on stage – a gang-linked drug dealer and a cheerleader for her niece’s lyrical abilities. When her father’s former music manager had the chance to become a hip-hop star, she was Bri’s number one supporter, but also her Achilles heel.

Bri’s best friends, Sonny and Malik, complicate the situation with a related coming-out story and a “friend zone” survey. Bri overcomes these obstacles with a witty narrative, as the talented young writer learns how expensive it is to follow your dreams. This book pays homage to young readers and music lovers alike, paying homage to hip-hop’s forebears, while ensuring that women’s voices never fade from the cipher.

Browne is a writer, organizer and art director for Urban Word NYC, author of “Woke Baby” and co-editor of “Break Beat Poets Vol 2.: Black Girl Magic Anthology”.

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