The story follows Amandla Stenberg’s character Starr, the only witness to the murder of her unarmed friend Khalil at the hands of a white cop. Khalil is vilified in the press, while his murder sparks national outcry. Meanwhile, Starr is the only person who knows what really happened, and this knowledge throws her community into upheaval and puts her and her family’s lives in danger. The book is a damning commentary on police brutality and the treatment of people of color in US society.
Issa Rae / Image courtesy of Madame Noir
Rae will play April, an activist who helps Starr articulate what she saw and fight for justice.
Horrified by the mounting deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of law enforcement, including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland to only name a few, Thomas wrote a short story for her creative writing class at Belhaven University.
Amandla Stenberg / Image courtesy of Oyster Magazine
The story evolved into a novel a year after Thomas reached out to literary agent Brook Sherman on Twitter. Balzer + Bray won a bidding war fought by no less than 13 publishing houses, and Thomas signed a two-book deal.
Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Sabrina Carpenter are also set to feature in the film.
Feature Image Courtesy of Vashtie and Amazon