“Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.” These are the now iconic, and still deeply relevant, words uttered by Ice-Cube’s Doughboy in John Singleton’s timeless drama Boyz n the Hood as he reflects on the struggle of the black community of LA’s Inglewood and Crenshaw. Twenty-five years on from its original release, Boyz n the Hood still manages to strike a chord, remaining pertinent as an artefact that has the power to touch mainstream audiences with its moving tale of three men living in a community stricken with gun crime, drugs and poverty.
These performances thrust them into the limelight and can be regarded as the initial step in what would be productive careers in Hollywood lasting to this day. The drama of Boyz n the Hood is centred in contrast. On the one side, we have the beautifully rendered father-son relationship between Furious Styles (Fishburne) and his son, Tre (Gooding Jr.), depicted in a series of blisteringly addictive scenes where they discuss sex with open-hearted honesty, and what it means to be a man. At one point, on the shoreline, Styles preaches, “Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children”.