Boyz n the Hood is one of the most iconic films that came out of the 90s and was written and directed by John Singleton when he was just twenty-four. The film is a work of fiction, but like many fictions it serves as a vehicle for greater truths.
Singleton’s film is a touching, difficult, honest tale of struggle and love and harsh realities. It’s a film that stands alone as a stunning piece of art but also resounds with messages that are politically relevant to this day.
Something Wrong? “Yeah. It’s Just Too Bad You Don’t Know What It Is.”
Furious calls the police after his house has been broken into during Tre’s first night after moving in. Furious fired a couple of shots at the person attempting to rob him but missed. The Police take an hour to arrive, and once they do, they are unhelpful. One of the policemen, who is Black, gives Furious particular trouble, and Furious responds with dismay at the fact that the policeman doesn’t see that he’s fighting the wrong fight.
Never Respect Anybody Who Doesn’t Respect You Back
Furious tries to instill life mottos and lessons into Tre and makes him repeat them back to him in his own words to prove that he’s paying attention and taking it seriously. Furious makes clear to Tre from day one living with him that things will be different for him than they are for his friends because Furious intends to raise him by particular morals and guidelines which will give his life a firm foundation, helping him to not succumb to the systematic traps set for people of color.
Any Fool With A Di*k Can Make A Baby, But Only A Real Man Can Raise His Children
Furious tries to impart on Tre the message that fatherhood doesn’t just mean impregnating someone, but takes dedication and care and being around.
Tre tries to be this kind of father for Tre, and hopes for Tre to learn by his example and be careful and not to take the act of having children lightly.
Most Of Those Tests Are Culturally Biased. The Only Part That’s Universal Is The Math
Tre and Rick return from taking the SAT test to get into college, and Furious inquires on how it went. Both shrug, to which Furious responds with a morose understanding that the tests are biased anyway–meaning biased to benefit white people and put people of color at a disadvantage.
Why Do You Think There’s A Liquor Store On Every Corner? The Same Reason There’s A Gun Store On Every Corner. They Want Us To Kill Ourselves.
Furious takes Rick and Tre on a trip to Compton. Both young men are nervous about it, but Furious tells them that they need to stop being afraid of their own people, as the media would have them be.
Furious draws attention to a billboard advertising cash for people’s homes and explains the concept of gentrification in Black neighborhoods, stressing the need for Black people to stick together. He goes on to discuss white influence in Black lives, and the systematic attempts to pit Black people against each other and influence the decline of Black lives.
Why Every Time You Talk About A Female You Gotta Say A “Bit*h” Or A “Ho”?
Doughboy’s female friend calls him out for only ever referring to women with derogatory words. Even in a rare instance where he seems to be describing how women are superior to men, he ends his point by referring to women as “bi*ches”. Women in the movie are almost always referred to this way, drawing attention to the issue of sexism in the Black male community, particularly sexism against Black women.
What You Did Is No Different Than What Mothers Have Been Doing From The Beginning Of Time
Reva tells Furious off for behaving as if he is special for having raised Tre. She gives him credit for the fact that what he did for their son is admirable and he’s been a good father in ways that most men aren’t, but doing so doesn’t give him the right to feel superior to her.
In a rare moment in the movie in which a woman’s perspective is offered, Reva asserts the truth that what the occasional man gets patted on the back for is the same thing that most women are expected to thanklessly do every single day.
You’re My Only Son, And I’m Not Gonna Lose You To No Bullsh*t. I Love You, Man.
Tre is in shock from Ricky being shot and rushes home to get his gun. Furious stops him, challenging him not to give in to the ego-driven behaviors that get most men in their area killed. Furious embraces Tre in a moment that represents a challenge to toxic masculinity, where two men can feel comfortable showing their love for one another.
Get Out Of My Face! And Keep Them Babies Out Of The Street!
Doughboy aggressively shouts at the drug-addicted mother who constantly harasses people for money and drugs, embodying the necessary bluntness and harsh lives lived in such difficult neighborhoods but while also including the care, community, and humanity that persists–looking out for the babies that can’t help but wander into the dangers of the street.
Either They Don’t Know…Don’t Show…Or Don’t Care About What’s Going On In The Hood
In these beautiful last lines of the film, Doughboy sits with Tre the morning after Ricky was murdered in broad daylight. He expresses his confusion about the American representation of hardship; the fact that American news will cover horrors going on in foreign countries as if there are no horrors in their own country–meanwhile, Black people are the subjects of murder and abuse every day.