Starr’s boyfriend, Chris, a wealthy white boy from Williamson, insists that Starr should feel free to be her whole self around him. Nevertheless, Starr avoids telling Chris about her connection to Khalil for most of the novel. Partially, Starr enjoys the feeling of normalcy she has when she spends time with Chris. However, Starr also avoids talking to him because of her awareness of the racialized dynamics between them. We see Starr’s confusion most clearly when she flinches from Chris when he raps the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. This moment crystallizes several issues. First, the Fresh Prince was an extremely popular show enjoyed by people of all races. Chris liking the Fresh Prince does not mean he can handle or understand systemic racism. Second, the moment makes Starr consider the implications of dating a white boy. She wonders if by dating Chris she’s chosen whiteness over Khalil, and therefore over Blackness. Finally, by connecting Chris to One-Fifteen, she considers how Chris and One-Fifteen both represent a larger system that privileges white lives over Black lives. The racist system they live in means that Chris and Starr’s relationship has implications for their lives beyond their compatibility as people.

Although initially hurt that Starr has been afraid to share what she has been going through in the wake of Khalil’s death, Chris deals with this hurt by proving to Starr that she can truly trust him. He goes with Starr, Seven, and DeVante to the protests in Garden Heights despite being the only white person there and insists that he can handle any discomfort he might feel. After initially balking at Starr saying that she wants to riot, he listens to and validates her anger. These actions show that Chris’s ability to respect Starr’s Blackness does not stop at easy-to-digest media like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or popular hip hop music, but to the real, complicated issues Starr must deal with in her everyday life. However, the novel does not portray Chris as a perfect ally. Chris sometimes says and does insensitive things because of his racial blind spots, such as when he asks Starr, Seven, and DeVante about Black names. What distinguishes Chris from characters like Hailey is that every time he gets called out, he’s willing to listen, learn, and grow.