By Rob Markman
20 years ago today writer/director John Singleton changed the movie game. As cliche as it may sound before July 12, 1991, films depicting the harsh realities of the inner-city, African American experience were underappreciated, undervalued and virtually unheard of. That was of course until the theatrical release of “Boyz N the Hood.” Inspired by the N.W.A. song of the same name, “Boyz N the Hood” put the struggles of the Black youth in Los Angeles on full display.
There was Trey, played by a then-unknown Cuba Gooding Jr. Under the guidance of his father Furious Styles (Lawrence Fishburn) Trey stood with one foot in and one foot out trying to balance his dad’s virtuous teachings with the pull of the streets. Ricky, played by a young Morris Chestnut was a good kid, learning to be a father himself while chasing his football dreams before it was all violently taken away from him. Then there was Doughboy, played by rapper Ice Cube. In his first acting role Cube nailed the unapologetically-gangster character and went on to conquer the sliver screen in his own right.
Nominated for two Academy Awards, the magic of “Boyz N The Hood” lasted longer than the film’s 112-minute running time. Beyond the grit and depth which Singleton displayed on-screen, it was the movie’s influence which ultimately defined its greatness. The Hughes brother’s “Menace II Society” and Ernest Dickerson’s “Juice” soon followed, and just like that the Black experience was redefined through film and Hollywood was forever changed.
Be sure to stick with out throughout the week as we bring you more coverage from the legendary film.