The Hate U Give

Kenya Character Analysis

The daughter of King and Iesha, Kenya is also Seven’s half-sister and one of the few people in Garden Heights with whom Starr has remained close. Starr describes her as being pretty enough to be a model, with a flamboyant personality and love of drama. Kenya keeps Starr connected to the community and is the one who drags Starr to Big D’s party at the beginning of the novel. She frequently refers to Seven as “my brother” rather than “our brother” in front of Starr, a verbal tick stemming from fear that Seven is ashamed of her. When she learns Starr is the witness in Khalil’s case, she calls her out for not speaking up more on his behalf and for acting as though she is ashamed of her ties to Garden Heights. This criticism is a large part of what makes Starr eventually lean in to activism. Though she is King’s daughter, Kenya remains close with the Carters and helps DeVante escape after King beats him. King beats her as well, and she eventually moves in with her grandmother and little sister Lyric. Despite their differences, Kenya is a steady presence in Starr’s life and the two reaffirm their friendship at the end of the novel.
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Kenya Character Timeline in The Hate U Give

The timeline below shows where the character Kenya appears in The Hate U Give. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...drinking, and smoking marijuana, and the environment is loud and hot. Starr is there with Kenya, a childhood friend. Kenya tells Starr to go dance, because people already think Starr feels... (full context)
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
Starr describes Kenya, who is beautiful and fashionable. She’s the only person Starr really hangs out with in... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kenya walks away to get another drink, leaving Starr alone and uncomfortable with so many unfamiliar... (full context)
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The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
Suddenly shots ring out at the party. Starr worries about where Kenya is, but Khalil grabs Starr’s hand and the two run to his car. Starr texts... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...live with the Carters, but Seven wants to be there to protect his mother and sisters—Kenya and Lyric—from King’s beatings. (full context)
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Kenya enters the store and asks if “her” brother — not “our,” a verbal tic that... (full context)
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Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
Kenya and Starr walk to get food from Mr. Reuben’s, a kindly shopkeeper who remembers all... (full context)
Chapter 9
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...mamma”; Starr hates nicknames. Seven introduces them and Starr realizes this is the same DeVante Kenya fought over at Big D’s party. Seven tells DeVante he’s sorry about his brother, Dalvin. (full context)
Chapter 11
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Kenya overhears this and calls Starr a coward for not speaking up more on behalf of... (full context)
Chapter 12
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...complicate the image the media is painting of him. She sends the Tumblr link to Kenya. Though this isn’t speaking up on the news, Starr feels that she is still doing... (full context)
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The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
The next morning Kenya finally texts Starr back about the Tumblr, saying simply “its aight.” Starr is happy, knowing... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...not to go into too many details, and in spite of King’s threats, Starr hears Kenya’s voice in her head and decides to tell the world why Khalil sold drugs. She... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Power of Language Theme Icon
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...watched in the network’s history, and there is an outpouring of support for Starr online. Kenya texts her approval, but also says King is angry that Starr effectively snitched on him. (full context)
Chapter 21
The Power of Language Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...the kids play in the pool and the adults dance to old-school hip hop music. Kenya flirts with DeVante, who happily says that Carlos and Pam have agreed to let him... (full context)
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
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...tense at first as the two groups greet each other. Chris and DeVante slap palms. Kenya introduces herself to Chris and then compliments Maya on her sneakers; Maya jokes about never... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...invited to the party. Seven walks to the gate, followed by Starr, her parents, and Kenya. Seven greets his grandmother and little sister Lyric. Iesha, wearing a tight pink dress, angrily... (full context)
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The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
Back in the house, Seven is sobbing uncontrollably. Lisa comforts him, and Maverick instructs Kenya and Starr to go back outside. Starr realizes how awkward it is to be sitting... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Kenya leads the group to Iesha’s bedroom, where DeVante is huddled on the floor in pain.... (full context)
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The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...to grab his sisters and get everyone out of the house, so she can “party.” Kenya grabs Lyric, and Iesha tells them to hurry up because she is “tired of looking... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...is distracting King to help them. Seven is deeply hurt until he realizes this too. Kenya points out that with everyone else gone, Iesha knows King will take his anger out... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Seven drops Kenya and Lyric at their grandmother’s house as riots erupt in Garden Heights. Seven asks if... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Kenya arrives and says she heard her father started the fire. She also tells Starr that... (full context)
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Kenya then apologizes to Starr for always calling Seven “my” brother instead of “our” brother. She... (full context)