‘Boyz N the Hood’ Turns 30: A Lively Review of Racism in the Workplace


John Singleton’s first film “Boyz N HoodIt was published on. July 12, 1991immediately made him a household name in many Black communities around the country. The movie was so well received that my mom decided to take me to the movies to the movies.

This was very important.

I was only 10 years old, but he explained that it was important for me to experience “Boyz” even though my mom wouldn’t let me watch movies with sex scenes. After the credits rolled, I understood why.

The story of three friends, Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy, who apparently grew up in South-Central Los Angeles, showed how white supremacy determined the conditions that ended up in neighborhoods devastated by crime and ultimately violence. There aren’t many white people in the film, but the effect of whiteness on Black lives permeates the screen.

This is evident when Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) interacts with the best of Los Angeles. As a child, he sees how even a black police officer does not take his father, Furious (Laurence Fishburne), seriously when he reports him breaking into the house; When Tre grows up, the same officer pulls a gun on him during a routine traffic stop. He quickly learns that the cops are not there to protect or serve him or his neighbors. What Singleton showed us about the relationship between police and Black residents is now well understood, but back then it was rare that the Black community’s view of policing was so well embodied by Hollywood. As a young Black man, I was always taught to be wary of officers, but this was one of the first moments I saw the logic of this fear on screen in a major American movie.

Tre may be the focus, but it’s Singleton’s openness to his ideas about white supremacy through Furious.

Previously, Furious takes a young Tre (Desi Arnez Hines II) to the beach for a father-son bonding. Girls talk about sex and life. Then Furious talks about his time in Vietnam. (Certainly Singleton was thinking of the young soldier Fishburne played. “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola while filming the scene.) “Never enlist, Tre,” he says. “The black man has no place in the army.”

I sat in the theater because that was exactly the conversation I had with my grandfather.

MC Murray, an Army veteran who fought in WWII, and I talked about how they thought the country had failed him on his return. He expected things to get better but had to fight again, but this time the enemy was American racism. He even talked to me about how realizing that there are two worlds in the military left him: one for white soldiers and one for Black ones. That “Boyz” scene is full of history, albeit brief. It shows us that Furious’s ideas about race were shaped by his service, and his treatment in the armed forces has haunted him.

It’s clear that Furious has left-of-center black ideas with this exchange, but it’s only later in the movie that these ideas are spoken with clarity and boldness. Meanwhile, Tre and his now high school senior best friend Ricky (Morris Chestnut) take the SAT and then visit Furious, a financial services company that helps local residents buy their own homes, in his office.

Together with the Boys Furious, they go to a street corner where the old man openly voices his ideas (and Singleton’s) about how Black is affected by white supremacy. This moment introduced me to a phenomenon that came to shape the lives of Black people in the country for the next 30 years. The promise and theft of the American dream from Black families underpins the film’s forward-thinking message about the changes coming to Black communities across the country.

Gentrification is “what happens when the property value of a particular area is reduced”. In an angry monologue he says This would be a sermon if it wasn’t made by one of the most talented actors of the ’90s. “They lower the value of the property, they can buy the land at a lower price, then they take all the people out, they increase the value of the property and sell it at a profit.” An audience, played by the brilliant Whitman Mayo, blames falling property value on Black teens selling drugs. By contrast, Furious speaks to what this movie has been trying to tell us all along: Black people aren’t the ones who bring drugs into the country—even if it’s them who die every day.

This is the scene that makes a pretty good movie about Black life and makes it a great movie. Today, gentrification has dramatically changed the community represented in “Boyz N the Hood” and Black communities like it across the country.

On the surface, the movie seems to be about Black crime and black children coming of age, but just outside the frame Singleton says more. Systemic racism is the real villain in this movie. It’s a theme she’ll revisit in both.”poetic justice“and”RosewoodThis is the reason for the crime and nihilism embraced by Doughboy (Ice Cube) that sets the stage for Ricky’s murder at the end of “The Boyz.” The choices of the characters are starting to make sense. They are either embracing the chaos that surrounds them or trying to escape from it.

In essence, this is a post-apocalyptic world. But it wasn’t an alien invasion or a virus that destroyed their sights. He was ravaged by white supremacy.

Singleton saw this 30 years ago, and his message remains as important as it was then.


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