It’s hard to believe that its been 20 years since John Singleton’s hood Cinema took hollywood by storm. The film itself was looked upon as a gamble, They had to get the green light from many neighborhoods to shoot the film because of gang affiliations. Singleton was also taking a gamble by putting Cuba Gooding Jr(Who was green) in a main role alongside Ice Cube, Morris Chesnut,Nia Long and others who were making key roles in the film.
Influenced by the classic record from Eazy E. Boyz N the Hood took many on a journey that people at that time was aware of seeing in the black community before this movie. Singleton took every circumstances that happen in the hood and made them as realistic as possible.Starting with the gunshot riddled Introduction.
The story is 3 childhood friends growing up in South Central only to find different journeys in life several years later. Trey trying to go to College in Atlanta, Ricky trying to get a Scholarship so he can play football in USC and Doughboy not really mounting too much and becoming a product of his own environment.
What made Boyz in tha Hood stand out from many of the black movies that tried to duplicate its success is the balance within balancing a message and showcasing its violence. Thats where the character of Lawerence Fishburne(Furious) comes in and provides that balance. He does a tremendous job as Trey’s educated, strict father who tries to give Trey insight, guidance and principle throughout his journey to keep him out of trouble or ending up like his childhood friend Doughboy.
Ice Cube may have single handedly destroyed that myth of rappers can’t act by delivering a standout performance. Playing the very rebellious and knuckle headed Doughboy who spent several years in prison and followed the street life due to misguidance.
Whats really sad about Doughboy’s character is that he was very smart but didn’t have the proper guidance from his mother so he lost motivation to strive and resorts with just hanging out with his boys outside of the porch everyday getting drunk and high. Cube did a superb job of exploiting the characters potential of wanting to be somebody but don’t have no avenue in getting the help he truly needed.
The movie had a lot of hidden messages behind it. From Doughboys, Trey, and Ricky’s gang affiliation with the crips(Notice how they were wearing alot of blue throughout the movie, Trey’s blue car), The subliminal diss Ice Cube sent to his then rival Eazy E by having a crackhead take a beat down from his crew while wearing a We Want Eazy T Shirt and some of the gems in the movie that Furious was dropping. Especially when talking to the people in Compton about the true definition of Gentrification.
What further made Boyz in the Hood standout through the test of time is the movie soundtrack. Even though movie soundtracks are pretty much dead at this point, There was a time where the music from the soundtrack had to fit with the concept of the movie. The Soundtracks first single How to Survive in South Central was a perfect introduction and Cube painted a very sordid picture of life in South Central.
There have been many movies in the 90s that followed the blueprint and they have been really good(Strapped,Jason Lyric, Poetic Justice, Menace II society) but they were never able to capture that fill of emotion like the scene of Ricky getting killed and Doughboy shedding tears before avenging his brother’s murder:
Its amazing how this film still stands out to this day and seemed to have arrived ahead of its time. Being that conditions in the black community have worsened, I believe its about time for the youngsters to be reminded of the harsh realities that were showcased in Boyz in the Hood still exist and should serve as a educational purpose when it comes to making the right choices in life.
If you wonder where is the cast from the movie are up to these days, Check out this link: