John Singleton’s “Boyz n the Hood” was real to the culture

“Ricky!” yelled Cuba Gooding Jr., portraying Tre Styles. That line broke many hearts as Ricky Baker, played by Morris Chestnut, was shot and killed in “Boyz n the Hood.” It hurt, we cried, it seemed real.

John Singleton’s death is a hard hit to the black community he helped portray. Singleton’s films, such as “Boyz n the Hood,” valued an honest look of the black community’s experience.

One of my earliest memories is my dad explaining and teaching me the art of “Boyz n the Hood.” We sat down and watched the movie that eventually taught me the difference between being intellectually smart and street smart.

“Boyz n the Hood” will forever be a classic for the realness of the lived experiences of many in the black community from the 1980s to now.
The cultural honesty in Singleton’s films provide an educational message through an urban experience. He had a true magical touch that allowed understanding through his art of filmmaking.

“Boyz n the Hood” touched subjects such as sex, crime, race relations between the black community and police, gentrification and survival in the hood.

It wasn’t until I recently watched the film again that I understood why my dad thought it was important. Now that I’m older, I understood the hurt in the film. When I heard Styles yell “Ricky!” and then the boom of the gunshot, I cried.

The film hit me harder now than it did when I was a child, and it hurt, but the only reason it hurt is because the film is so real. Singleton used his own life experiences, but there was so much relatability in it all.

I grew up in a healthy home with both my parents in a not too bad neighborhood, but my dad wanted me to see the life I didn’t have to live. As I grew up, I recognized family members, classmates, friends and co-workers were living it.

Singleton will forever have a legacy of honest work that gave life and education to true experiences. He indeed used his films to keep it real to the culture.

I treasure each moment I had watching “Boyz n the Hood” with my dad, and I’m sure I’ll treasure that same moment when watching Singleton’s dope movie with my future child.

garyenriquebradley-lopez@mail.umkc.edu

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