The soundtrack for The Hate U Give is out today, and it is packed with an impressive list of contributors. Previously released tracks from Kendrick Lamar, Pusha-T, Jadakiss, and Travis Scott are featured, along with a few specifically made with The Hate U Give in mind. That includes the title track from Def Jam artist Bobby Sessions, who decided to use this opportunity to share a message that coincides with the theme of the film.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Sessions is no stranger to the injustices black people face as his cousin was fatally shot by a police officer in 2012. Sessions channels that energy on wax, and it's his hope that the audience will get inspired by the movie and "feel motivated to speak up against injustice. We have the power to fix our conditions. This is about right and wrong. I believe this generation will put an end to racism. I’m excited for everyone to watch this film."
While he's aware that social injustice and inequality in America cannot be fixed in one day, Sessions believes there are appropriate actions that the public can take in order to achieve that end. "Studying our history is the most important FIRST step in my opinion. It completely eliminates buying in to these tragedies being categorized as 'isolated incidents.' We need to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions."
Bobby Sessions remains focused on crafting music with the purpose of uplifting others and properly representing his people, and only feels satisfied when he has achieved that goal. "I measure the success of my music based on how many people feel empowered after digesting the content," he says. Recognizing the warm reception of his music by fans, Sessions admits he is "overwhelmed with the positive feedback that I’ve received. I have a responsibility to speak on these topics and tell the truth. We can’t continue to 'pass the buck' and hope that these things will fix themselves. Music is a great tool to get the dialogue started."
Sessions acknowledges the notable placement of his song, and such inclusion in the film has him hopeful for awards season. Still, while the high prestige that comes with winning an award like an Oscar does entice him, he realizes that the symbolism of the victory is more important. "Holding that award on stage would represent hope for many young Americans. A weapon can never match the power of your voice. Shine your light!"
Def Jam singer-songwriter Arlissa contributed "We Won't Move," a powerful track she recorded after watching The Hate U Give.
"When I was watching the film, I really saw that Starr (Amandla Stenberg) was this very young girl who was dealing with very adult problems... There's a real vulnerability there, and I sympathized so much; I felt that vulnerability when making 'We Won't Move,'" Arlissa explains. "But it's through those moments, it's through adversity that you really do grow and find out who you are. And that was a real inspiration for the song. Just through my own experiences, as well, I had to fall on my face many, many times to grow as a person. I just wanted that to be the real message: Things may be tough, they may be hard, but you will be stronger and you will get through it."
Arlissa says "We Won't Move" is an uplifting track about triumph; however, when she's in a somber state, she tends to listen to depressing music as a form of catharsis.
"I end up playing a lot of sad songs. And sometimes I just feel like that helps me more, because I can cry and get it all out of my system," she says. "I'll just get really kind of emotional, but it does kind of help me after I had a good cry. I feel like I can really reset and start again."
According to Arlissa, if there's one message audiences can take away from the film, it's the importance of standing up for what you believe in and making a difference.
"Things can change for the better. It takes only a small voice to move mountains," she says. "By speaking up, we connect with so many others who feel the same, whether that is injustice, whether that is just empathy, or just togetherness. When we speak up, we find a light through others, and we feel, I guess, not alone anymore. I think that's particularly relevant in our day in age... I just think that this film really proves that together, we are so strong. And if we do feel like things aren't OK, that things aren't right, we do have a voice, we can use it, and we can make a difference."
Stream the soundtrack for The Hate U Give below. The film hits theaters Oct. 19.