Remembering ‘Boyz N the Hood’

July 12, 1991 On this day, director John Singleton’s “Boyz N the Hood” was released. Writing in The Washington Post, movie critic Rita Kempley called it “a rude, insistent rap, an unflinching, often funny, always compassionate look at coming of age.” The film follows three childhood friends: Doughboy, played by rapper Ice Cube of N.W.A., in what Kempley called “an impressive acting debut”; Doughboy’s “model-handsome” brother Ricky, played by Morris Chestnut; and Tre, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. Tre’s mother sends him to live with his father (Laurence Fishburne), who is “distant and preachy, but his tough love makes all the difference.” Tre perseveres, Kempley wrote, while his friends “fall by the wayside, victims of temper, neglect and indigence.” The film was a critical success. Singleton became the first African American and the youngest person nominated for a best-director Oscar. He went on to make such movies as “Poetic Justice” and “Baby Boy.” The film also made movie stars of Gooding and Ice Cube, who is now known as much for films such as “Barbershop,” “Friday” and “Ride Along” as for N.W.A.

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