The most important conversations are often the hardest.
In their movie The Hate U Give, KJ Apa and Amandla Stenberg‘s characters have an honest conversation about the impact of race on their relationship.
Stenberg plays Starr—a young African-American woman who lives in a poor, primarily black neighborhood but attends an affluent, primarily white prep school. Apa plays Chris, a white male who attends the same school and is Starr’s boyfriend.
In one scene, Chris tells Starr he doesn’t “see color” and that he views everyone the same way. However, Starr argues, “If you don’t see my blackness, you don’t see me.”
“That’s a really powerful moment,” Apa says in a behind-the-scenes clip exclusive to E! News. “It’s a powerful moment because he does see color. Everyone sees color. If you don’t see color, then you’ve got to be blind. But what he means by that is he doesn’t see color as a way to separate people. But people are different. People grow up differently. And him saying he doesn’t see color means that he doesn’t see her for who she is.”
Stenberg agrees Chris “takes the color-blind approach to a relationship.” While she acknowledges the character has good intentions, she also knows that sentiment “doesn’t cut it in today’s day and age.”
“Starr urges him to think critically about her experience as a black person,” Stenberg says. “And she explains to him why he can’t look at her without any lens of color because he has to think about how being black affects her everyday experiences. It affects her everyday life. It affects the way that she traverses the world.”
George Tillman, Jr., the director of the film, knows having these conversations can be tough; however, he says people can still get through the awkwardness and have these talks just like Apa and Stenberg’s characters.
“It may make people uncomfortable, like it makes Starr and Chris uncomfortable,” he said, “but they get through that because they have a conversation.”
Watch the video to see the stars discuss the scene.
Based on the best-selling novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give is available on digital today and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 22 from Fox Home Entertainment.