John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz n the Hood is a portrayal of a struggling black community in South Central, California. The film most closely follows the lives of Tre, Doughboy and his brother Ricky, all of which are young black men who are presumed to be in their senior year of high school. While the 1990’s may have been a time of economic prosperity for the masses, the underbelly of the country struggled. The film aims to carve out a place for the strife of black communities in the cinematic canon by shedding light on the urban landscape that traps its inhabitants. This exploration of the myth of upward mobility is intertwined with a multitude of issues that affected black America at the time. Through plot and symbolism, Singleton poignantly touches on all these subjects. However, I offer the criticism that he should have simply picked one or two of these issues instead of trying to cram them all into one film. Singleton begins the film by showing Tre, the protagonist, as a child. He is sent to live with his father, Furious, in “the hood” after acting out in school. There, he meets up with a group of friends and one day they journey to see a dead body. Singleton does this to show the children’s exposure to death at such a young age. It is not typical for a young child to see such things, so this symbolic gesture is effective at showing the viewer what kind of culture the children are being brought up in. Immediately after their encounter with the dead body the children are taunted by a group of gang members over a football. By setting this up immediately after the children’s encounter with death, Singleton has coupled gang violence and murder. This is an important to the cultural moment that Singleton is trying to encapsulate b... ... middle of paper ... ...unity at this time to be a bit heavy handed. While I do think that his film was powerful, I find it overused the stereotypical tropes that one associates with “the hood,” leaving me feeling like the characters were flat and predictable. All of the issues presented in the film are pertinent to the socio-economic landscape of the time, but there were just so many of them one after another it was difficult to take them seriously. The density of the issues caused the film to come off as a bit melodramatic. While Singleton may have caricaturized the characters, I do think that his aim was incite some sort of social change through immortalizing these tropes. By making them all known to the masses we are able to have am artistic frame of reference against which to judge the black community and get a better understanding of what can be done to fight its negative attributes.
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The different groups of friends were completely different from each other. There was the group that wanted to be popular and get all the girls with a party, and there was a group that had all the music records that the other needed. That was the group that was trying to make money as well. Both parties also wanted girls. The fact that these two groups had seemingly presented themselves as gangs shows how much they wanted to be apart from each other. The gangs symbolized the separatism of the youth. The catch to their separateness is that they really needed one another to get what they wanted. The one group needed music and the other group needed money. They ended up making a deal with each other, which was conspired by Bacc. The fact that they were able to come together like that symbolized that they really should be together.
Harding, D. J. (2010). Living the Drame: Community, Conflict, and Culture Among Inner-City Boys. Chicago, IL: The University Of Chicago Press.
The essay of Debra Dickerson’s “Who Shot Johnny?” she explains how Americans only see the gangster, uneducated, homeless, careless black community and doesn’t
In the movie “Boyz in the Hood” director John Singleton, paints a clear image of the problems that happen very often in the African American communities. The movie deals with issues such as: the importance of a father in a young man’s life, the ongoing violence of black on black crime, and how black people are put in situations where they are put to fail and not succeed in life.
About 2.5 million people live in the Brooklyn region, so the streets are crowded with people and modes of transportation that are from all sorts of backgrounds. Individuals who come from all forms and walks of life cover the area where the movie Pariah takes place. However, this specific story dives directly into the life of a teenage African American who struggles with accepting herself as a lesbian to her family. The film covers deep chains of thought on what it means to grow up, and how maturing while living in an environment that does not necessarily suit your life choices can actually harm someone in the long run. In my observations, this film takes a narrative that could easily be portrayed as a white family and makes it one that takes
The movie revolves around Tre Styles, a young African American male growing up in the Crenshaw neighbourhood of South Central LA. The movie depicts Tre as an intelligent, young man who is guided by his father, Furious, who strongly encourages Tre to avoid falling victim to the violence that surrounds them. Tre’s friends involve Ricky, a high school football star looking to get into college and avoid the gang banging life while his half-brother, Doughboy, is a gangbanger for the Crips. Tensions rise and rise until finally members of the Bloods, a rival gang, shoot and kill Ricky. Tre and Doughboy swear to avenge Ricky, and Tre almost succumbs to a life of crime until he remembers his father’s words and turns back. Doughboy however, finds the Blood members responsible and shoots them dead, which results in him being murdered two weeks later. While this movie does not explicitly show how development in the area resulted to crime ridden neighbourhoods, it shows the devastating effects and how much of the youth there, as much as they try to avoid crime and gangbanging, end up falling victim to it anyways, like Ricky. As depicted in the movie, growing up around violence led Doughboy and his friends to become violent as it was the only way to survive (1991). This is how Boyz n The Hood displays the effects development has
More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (Issues of Our Time)
In 1960, the American sociologist Paul Goodman published his seminal work, Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society. Having observed that, since World War II, there had been an increasing rise in juvenile delinquency – especially amongst white, middle-class, educated males – Goodman set out to study both the source and forms of delinquency. Simply put, he wanted to understand why and how young men were rebelling not just from the previous generation but from society as a whole. Goodman ultimately posited that having been frustrated by an increasingly bureaucratic and corporate culture, the only way for these young men to begin forging their personal identities was to reject the very middle-class culture and values from which they had emerged. Goodman then discovered that many of these young men began to find solace and freedom, to quote Allen Ginsberg, “by dragging themselves through negro hipster streets.” These middle-class young men – or what Goodman would ultimately label as “the white negroes” – found for themselves an entirely new cultural frontier by embracing what they felt to be the only free space available: within the bosom of black culture. The fact middle-class, white males listening to “black music” would hardly raise an eyebrow today only serves as a testament to the enduring power of blackness as a cultural trope. Whether it be jazz in the 1950s or hip-hop at the turn of the century, white youth have continued to find avenues of self-expression and self-formation through what Toni Morrison calls an Africanist presence.
“You don’t have to live like this. There are more than just these projects out here, you know. Don’t you want to go some place you’ve never been before? You love trains, but you’ve only ridden a subway” (Clockers, 1995). Andre worked as a street level police officer in Brooklyn. His message was simple, but could be easily lost in translation. The message was intended for Strike Dunham, a 19-year-old African American drug dealer. Strike was involved in the drug trade at an early age. As he began dealing crack cocaine and street drugs, his life took a different direction than that of his older brother, Victor. Rodney, who mentors Strike and is the drug-dealing kingpin of the Brooklyn Projects, has other plans for Strike. As Strike had learned from Rodney in the past, he now mentors his own protégé, Tyrone, an 11-year-old boy who hangs around Strike (Rich, 2012, p.1). The film shows that the crime-fighting agenda in the mid 1990’s was misinterpreted and wrongly directed within the inner city. The racial disparity, hardship, discrimination and loss of life of minorities living in the inner city during the 1990’s occurred due to social injustices and misinterpreting how to resolve issues of drug trafficking and violence in the inner city.
In this narrative essay, Brent Staples provides a personal account of his experiences as a black man in modern society. “Black Men and Public Space” acts as a journey for the readers to follow as Staples discovers the many societal biases against him, simply because of his skin color. The essay begins when Staples was twenty-two years old, walking the streets of Chicago late in the evening, and a woman responds to his presence with fear. Being a larger black man, he learned that he would be stereotyped by others around him as a “mugger, rapist, or worse” (135).
New Jack City, noted as ‘the crime film of the 90’s’,serves as an important episode for African-American people in America. Set in New York city, the film depicts the story of a success-driven antagonist Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) who builds an empire powered by organized crime, drug trafficking, and Black delinquent young adults trapped in the cycle of crime. Ronald Reagan’s economic policy coupled with the popularity of crack-cocaine in the inner city creates inconsistencies and untapped markets in the poor community which Nino Brown brilliantly capitalizes on and exploits. His empire is able to successfully cut out the middle men in the drug trafficking market and centralize their operation in a single low-income housing complex inhabited
Harlem Nights is a block of violence and poverty. One of those nights I lost my best friend, Tyson. We used go out and “hustle” so we could come up with a meal, which is what we were doing that night. We had nothing to live for during that time in our lives, but we were in it together. But, one night, everything went downhill.
Boyz N the Hood was a film created to convey an anti-gang message as well as to provide societal members an in-depth look at life in “the hood” so he or she can expand their culturally awareness of identifying societal issues (Stevenson, 1991). Upon the debut of “Boyz N the Hood” violence erupted at theaters across the nation, resulting in multiple shows pulling the film from scheduled showings to alleviate future violent behaviors (Stevenson, 1991). The film profoundly illustrates the realty of the events revealed within the storyline that frequently occur on a daily basis within every impoverish community; however, is overlooked by the individuals who are not directly involved and or affected (Leon-Guerrero, 2016) Children of lower socioeconomic status often are raised in ghetto neighborhoods where they often witness, crime, violence, gang activity, abuse, and drugs (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). Ghetto communities envelop tumultuous cycles of violence and substance abuse creating a pervasive occurrence within the residents of the community. This is prevalent in lower developed communities that unfortunately many children and the youth populace indirectly inherit and sadly conform to, as there are no other means to an end for them (Leon-Guerrero,
The article, “White” by Richard Dyer explores both sides of the black and white paradigm in mainstream films –while addressing racial inequalities. Dyer talks about the “…property of whiteness to be everything and nothing [and that this] is the source of its representational power…the way whiteness disappears behind and is subsumed into other identities…”(Dyer 825). Also, according to Dyer “…stereotypes are seldom found in a pure form and this is part of the process by which they are naturalized…”(Dyer 826). Through the application of binarism to the film, The Green Mile, this essay will critically analyze the identities of black and white people. For instance, specific examples of the films mis-en-scene will serve as evidence to show the visible binarism and racial symbolism that exist in this