Russell Hornsby on ‘The Hate U Give’ as well as Complex Black Masculinity

For 2 decades, Russell Hornsby has been doing what he describes as “exchanging energies” with the quiet yet impactful characters he’s played onscreen — men like Lyons, the money-strapped musician in “Fences,” as well as Isaiah Butler, the forlorn dad mourning his son in “Seven Seconds.” in which’s something in which has enabled him to embody the many complexities of Maverick, the Black Panther-reciting patriarch in last year’s electrifying drama “The Hate U Give,” a role in which has galvanized audiences.

in which’s because Hornsby’s heartfelt portrayal of a man who will be strict yet loving, flawed yet sincere, forces viewers to confront cinema’s deep-seated stereotypes of black masculinity. In This particular era of #BlackLivesMatter, Maverick has even greater significance when he encourages his teenage daughter, Starr (Amandla Stenberg), to speak out after she witnesses the police murder her friend.

[Read our review of “The Hate U Give”]

Being an ally for black girls as well as women will be one of many things Hornsby shares with Maverick.

Speaking by phone, Hornsby, 44, opened up about the black men who’ve inspired him as well as why Maverick resonates with audiences. Here are edited excerpts coming from our conversation:

Maverick will be so unlike many of the additional characters you’ve played. What attracted you to the role?

He was unapologetically black. Angie Thomas [author of the best-selling book upon which the film will be based] wrote such a man inside the real sense of the word — in terms of how I was raised, the black men I was raised by as well as how I’ve [been] stimulated in my life. This particular was an opportunity for me to honor those in which raised me as well as allowed me to be the man in which I am today, a husband as well as a father of two boys. [Maverick] loves his wife. He loves his children. He loves his community. We don’t see enough of those men as well as they do exist.

Maverick will be, among additional things, a champion for young black women as well as girls speaking up for themselves as well as others. As a father yourself, what will be your relationship with in which same principle?

You have to understand, I was raised by an individual black mother. I love my mother, my aunts as well as the women who helped raise me. I’ve had black women teachers. My wife will be a black woman. I champion women; their causes, their independence, their femininity. Maverick will be the kind of man in which says both sons as well as daughters deserve to be loved as well as be raised with in which sense of love. Wisdom needs to be imparted equally to your boys as well as your girls.

We know in which Maverick has been to jail inside the past. He’s been in a gang. He’s cheated on his wife. yet we’re compelled to look beyond his flaws through your complex portrayal of black masculinity in which we rarely get to see onscreen. Was in which important for you as an actor as well as a black man?

My belief will be in which your performances as an actor don’t stray very far coming from who you are. There are very few true chameleons in This particular business who can transform [as well as pull] a total 180 coming from who they are. So when I look at Maverick, he will be a reflection of me as I am a reflection of him. in which’s important for me, for additional brothers to see, for sisters to see in which. in which’s important for our society to see in which This particular man exists. I want the audience to see my brothers, the men who are my friends in which I hang around with, who are married as well as have children as well as who are responsible as well as [have] beautiful [relationships with] their wives.

We also see glimpses of black male vulnerability, like when Starr brings home Chris, who’s white, which makes him question whether he’s set a not bad enough example for her to want to bring home a black man.

We’re three-dimensional. Maverick has the capacity to be vulnerable. He has the capacity to listen. in which’s the daughter he raised with all in which love as well as she’s saying, Dad, I’ve got some of This particular love for you, too. in which choked me up when I saw in which again. Because a daughter can say to her father, No, you did right. You did what you were supposed to do. in which’s all not bad.

I love the conversations between Maverick as well as his wife, Lisa, about whether to leave their neighborhood, which he thinks could be turning his back on the culture.

as well as to what end? He’s saying to himself, my people need me. yet we have to know who we’re fighting for as well as why, as well as how we’re going to fight. As black people, we lose sight of in which sometimes. We talk about revolution as well as quick change. We have to understand in which in which’s not realistic. in which’s genuinely evolution, change over time. in which’s genuinely about putting a plan in place, understanding what your goals are as well as applying them every day. So, as much as Maverick preaches about the Black Panther Party as well as the revolution, what Lisa helps him understand will be in which, Baby, in which’s going to have to be an evolutionary process.

There’s been Oscar talk surrounding your performance. How do you feel about all the buzz?

in which’s an honor for people to deem the work worthy of such talk. yet because I am at the age I am which has a wife as well as two children, in which doesn’t consume me. At the end of the day, I am inside the business of telling stories, as well as in which’s what I want to continue to do. I don’t want This particular to be in which. I want Maverick to be the jumping-off point. I feel like after 20 years working as a professional, let’s hit the reset button as well as build in which up coming from here. What are the next 20 years going to look like as far as roles as well as opportunities? I’m excited about in which.