What Anthony Mackie Thinks About The Hate U Give’s Controversial Ending

Anthony Mackie as King in The Hate U Give

The following contains major spoilers for The Hate U Give. See the movie, then come back here.

The Hate U Give is a powerful film that deals with subjects of race, class, culture, and violence. We see the cycle of violence play out in the form of Russell Hornsby's Maverick, who leaves the gang life working with Anthony Mackie's King in order to try and save his children from that life. All of it comes apart, however, when Maverick's youngest child takes his father's gun and points it at King, while a pair of police officers arrive on the scene. Our own Hannah Saulic had a chance to ask Anthony Mackie what King was thinking at that moment. The actor responded...

The fear and realization of losing a generation. At that point, you know, King loves Mav. I mean, they were best friends and he never wanted the beef to come to this. He never wanted the problem to come to this. And he definitely didn't want to have the kids be, that was always a fear tactic and when that fear tactic became a life-threatening tactic, it scared him, it hurt him. You know, especially with this young kid who has his whole life ahead of him.

In a movie that has many emotional and heartwrenching moments, this one may be the most terrible. Sekani is only about eight-years-old and here he is holding a gun while a couple of cops are pointing guns at him. Having seen the worst thing possible happen the last time a cop thought somebody had a gun, the audience is trained to expect something terrible to happen once again.

For all intents and purposes, Anthony Mackie's King is the "villain" of The Hate U Give. He's the local drug dealer who threatens Amandla Stenberg's Starr because he's afraid that if she comes forward and tells what she knows about the police shooting she has witnessed, it will cause his business problems. However, Anthony Mackie says that when King sees this little boy holding a gun, he's not selfishly thinking he might be shot, he's realizing how his actions have led to this terrible outcome, and how far-reaching the consequences might truly be.

The title of The Hate U Give comes from a line made famous by Tupac Shakur, "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody" which transforms into the acronym THUG LIFE. That is exactly what we see in this scene, as the next generation is showing that they have adapted to the violence that they have seen around them. The cycle is continuing rather than stopping.

The Hate U Give ultimately ends with a message of hope, rather than despair, but the fact that it's such a close thing is what the audience really takes away.

Check out the video below for Anthony Mackie's complete comments on the end of The Hate U Give as well as Russell Hornsby's response to how his character, the boy's father Maverick, is feeling at that same moment.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.