(NEW YORK) — July 12, 1991, John Singleton’s movie Boyz n the Hood was released in the United States. The movie, about growing up black in gang-plagued South Central Los Angeles, launched the acting career of former N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube, and provided breakout acting roles for Morris Chestnut and futur eOscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr.
“I don’t think people really understood what life was like growing up for black people in Los Angeles, from certain parts of Los Angeles,” Vibe Editor-at-Large Keith Murphy tells ABC Radio. “It definitely brought out West Coast culture and hip-hop culture to the masses.”
“Boyz n the Hood humanized the gangsters…and humanized the people in the hood,” Murphy says.
The 1991 film also inspired a legion of imitators and parodies, with Juice — which starred late rapper Tupac Shakur in his first leading film role — among the former, and the Keenan Ivory Wayans’ comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka among the latter.
“I think that was the blueprint for a lot of things…Jason’s Lyric…Set it Off with Queen Latifah that kind of made her into a star,” Murphy says. “[T]here’s a lot of different movies, quote-unquote black movies that followed the blueprint.”
Boyz n the Hood was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Director and the other for Best Original Screenplay, while Singleton won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best New Director. In 2002, Boyz n the Hood was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
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