Boyz N the Hood
Deemed as one of the most captivating dramas about growing up in a black community, ‘Boyz N the Hood’ narrates the life and struggle of people in the neighborhood. It is centered on the life of Tre, a young black American male who has to come of age in a society where everything seems stacked against him. The film gives a vivid picture of struggles in the community and is a mirror of society, culture, and the environment encountered by most blacks. Many concepts are portrayed in the film, but herein society (culture) and environment are discussed.
Folks in the film epitomize a lack of respect for each other. Dead people are merely left to rot, brothers pick up arms against brothers and term each other as ‘niggers’, and females are termed as whores. Perhaps the most blatant lack of respect and which has drawn controversy in present day society is the disrespect to blacks exemplified by the police. Furious style, for example, is an honest man trying to raise a family decently, but the black police officer, a fellow ‘brother’, shows no respect for him. Blacks are not seen as individuals, rather as a grouping of pimps, drug peddlers, and gangbangers. People, however, make an attempt to bring respect to the society. Furious tries to teach Tre how to be respectful, and in some ways succeeds. In his early years, Tre demeans girls, but this changes later in life as exhibited by him advocating for girls to be served food first in the party given by Ricky.
Few individuals in the society take responsibility for their acts. Throughout the film, the phrase ‘I didn’t do nothing’ resonates. It is in the fathers who are absent from their kids and peddlers further corrupting their society with their drugs. It is in kids dropping out of school and engaging in misconduct. Only a few exceptions to this trend exist, one of them being Furious. Throughout the film, he takes responsibility for Tre. The film depicts the different outcomes of fathers being present and absent from their sons lives, in essence calling on black fathers to be responsible.
John Singleton, the director, also explores the issue of relationships in the community. Friendship, enmity, and family ties come out clearly. There is a spirit of camaraderie in Doughboy, Ricky, and Tre. They do things together and fight for each other when need be. When Ricky is murdered by the Bloods, it takes an emotional toll on Tre, who teams up with Doughboy to find the killers. Sex is seen as commonplace and non-importance. People engage in the activity without thought of the consequences. Tre thinks of sex as ‘sticking your thing in.’ Sex is thought of as ‘macho’ in the hood and Tre hates being labelled a virgin, and even lies to Furious about it. This mindless sex, however, elicits a community where children have no relationship with their fathers. Singleton also portrays the theme of family breakdown. Ricky has to study with the television on and is even sent on errands while in the middle of his work. This shows that individuals are unaware of what other family members are doing, or if they do, they do not care. Older folk have no relationship with their young ones and are thus not responsible for their actions.
Conflict is a theme that best comes out. For the blacks, it is about embracing the hood life, or mainstream society. Furious wants Tre to go mainstream and urges him to attend school and even gives him sex education. Tre fails in some of these endeavors, as depicted by the mindless sex he has with Brandi. There is also a major emotional struggle that emanates from Ricky’s death. Tre craves vengeance, and this puts him in conflict with society in the hood. While hunting for the Bloods, Tre makes the decision to abscond hood life for a peaceful life. This conflict is far reaching in the hood. It is exhibited by teens who start school only to drop out later, and those who manage to lead a peaceful life only to be influenced in engaging in crime.
It can be said that life in the hood is deplorable, and influences negatively on the young people. There are thieves, drug peddlers, and gang members everywhere. Insecurity is rife, as depicted by the burglar who was shot by Furious, and the numerous killings, including that of Ricky. There are poor infrastructure and housing projects, which might be a major contributor to the people giving up hope of a good life and engaging in crime.
The depiction of the hood environment is also used to educate mainstream America on life in the hood. The dialogue reinforces this understanding. Phrases such as ‘let me show you something’, ‘look at that’, and ‘do you want to see a dead body’ are used to compel the viewer to comprehend the hood environment. When the ‘boyz’ get to view the body, all Tre can mutter is how smelly the body is. To them, this is another day in the hood. Singleton, however, evinces hope for those in the hood. Furious is a good father despite the harsh environment. Watching the movie, many people expect Tre to be influenced by the hood life but he ends up alright.
There is a neglect of the hood by authorities. The authorities responsible for infrastructure and housing have clearly neglected their duties. Even the police do nothing about the spate of insecurity and crime going on in the hood. Murders go unsolved and unattended to, which leads to an upsurge in crime as people take the law into their hands and search for vengeance. At best, the police are disrespectful to law-abiding citizens like Furious. The education institution is also neglected. No authority bothers whether kids attend school or follows up when they stop attending school. To the viewer, it seems as if the hood is non-existent to the America society. This is reinforced by Doughboy’s statement, ‘Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”
In conclusion, John Singleton’s film deals with ordinary hood people dealing with ordinary problems. These problems are broken into themes such as relationships, respect, responsibility, the hood environment, conflict, culture, and neglect. Hood ‘boyz’ have to circumvent these obstacles in their adulthood journey. The movie is a call to the authorities, fathers, families, and mainstream Americans to take note of the challenges teenagers coming from the hood face, and do something about it. It also gives the black child hope that against all odds, just like Tre, one can suffer emotional loss, experience conflict, solve these issues, and still come up triumphant on the other side.