“I have to say my biggest literary influence is Tupac” – Angie Thomas, Author of The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas, the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Hate U Give, kicked off her UK book tour in celebration of the release of her second book, On The Come Up.
Angie Thomas watched her first book, The Hate U Give, go from pages to the big screen. The movie, released in October 2018 by Fox 2000 Pictures, smashed the box office across the globe.
The Hate U Give follows the life of a sixteen-year-old African American girl named Starr Carter. Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
On The Come Up is about sixteen year old Bri, who aspires to be one of the greatest rappers. Bri’s mother loses her job which leaves them with an empty fridge and hungry mouths. Her success is all that stands between her family and homelessness. On The Come Up is a story about hip-hop, prejudice and fighting for your dreams. While Angie was in Manchester, she confirmed that plans are in place to turn it into a movie. This time around Angie will be producer with George Tillman Jr. as director. He also directed The Hate U Give.
Angie arrived at Manchester Library to see a packed out audience waiting to hear about her story. The evening was put on by Waterstones and hosted by Shirley May of Manchester arts organization ‘Young Identity’. Angie told the story of On The Come Up and talks about her first book The Hate U Give.
In addition to talking about her books, Angie engages in conversation with her fans about the real-life issues that her books raise. Poverty, racism, violence and gang culture were key talking points, with Angie drawing the comparison between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Towards the end of her talk, the host opened up questions to the audience for Angie. One fan asked who her biggest literature influence was. Her response wasn’t one that most were expecting!
Responding to that question Angie said,
“Rappers are storytellers. Tupac could tell a story through his songs that really spoke to me and so I always said I want to write the that he rapped. One song could make you think, another could make you laugh another could make you cry another make you angry, that’s what I want my books to do. I have to say my biggest literary influence is Tupac.”
With being a huge ‘Pac fan, Angie Thomas set the record straight and said what every Tupac and Biggie fan has been saying for a while now. The two iconic musicians would of put the beef behind them if they were still here.
“I think if they were both alive now they would have squashed that by now. Tupac would have been more concerned about Trump putting kids in cages than having beef with another black man.”
Ending the Questions and Answers with fans, the author shows another talent that she has, rapping. Angie performed a battle rap that Bri, a character from On The Come Up, performs.
After the interview O4L Online did with her last November, it was great to see her in person and have a great chat. Angie told me that she loved our interview and that O4L Online is contributing to keeping Tupac’s legacy alive.
You will never meet another author who is more down to earth, humble and kind-hearted than Angie Thomas. If you are a Tupac fan, Biggie fan or fan of hip-hop and real life then her books are for you.
Reaction to Angie Thomas in Manchester
Her books give such an important message and I want as many people as possible to discover her work. Angie was so lovely. I’m so glad we got the chance to meet her and tell her how much we enjoy her books!
Waverleyreads from Nottingham
It was amazing, seeing her in person. You never truly know how a person will be when all you know of them is through a screen. She is such a down-to-heart and real human being. I see a lot of bri in her, where she will speak her mind and stand up to her. T.H.U.G. was the first book I read about black lives matter and the first I read from a black author.
Obviously, everybody knows what goes on around the world with hate crime towards people of colour. To read into that first hand, in the mind of Starr who saw it before her own eyes, affects you. When you enter Bri’s mind, where it isn’t about the hate crime but the stereotypes that surround them, it’s hard-hitting. Obviously On the Come Up also deals with hate from the security guards at the school. It focussed mainly on getting a voice out there and trying to prove that black people aren’t just a stereotype.
Both of the books mean the absolute world to me, they educate and show the truth behind hate crime. I look up to Angie for what she is doing. There could be so much backlash against her books telling the truth about society, especially in America. But the words need to be said and need to be heard. She’s amazing for doing that.
Amanda from Hazel Grove, Stockport
It was a great evening and brilliant to be part of such a
diverse audience. Angie is someone I’ve been following on social media since I read T.H.U.G. I’ve always liked the way she stands up for what she believes, both in the real world and on the page.
I like that her books don’t hide from the truth, and embrace a reality I don’t know. But it is one that I feel closer to now due to her writing. I’ve actually written more in-depth about her books on my review page, @the_page_pixie. It’s hard to say how much I am inspired and in awe of her in just a few sentences.