Tuesday, 15 March 2016

African American representation in Boyz n the Hood (1991)

I chose to focus on an example from the film Boyz n the Hood (1991) by John Singleton, a film revolving around a black community in South Central Los Angeles. I chose the scene in which the character of Furious (Laurence Fishburne) explains the term ‘Gentrification’ to some members of the community.

This clip can be related to the representation of contemporary African American identity as Furious explains some of the troubles which black Americans face. Firstly he describes what is meant by gentrification and how it could mean that their neighbourhood could be bought and the black Americans living there will be told to move out. Furious’ solution to stop this from happening is to ‘keep everything in the neighbourhood black,’ thus suggesting that nobody will buy their neighbourhood if everything is black owned, perhaps due to racism or fear of African Americans which grew strong during the end of the 20th Century, due to the rise of ‘hoods’, which is also referenced within this clip by the quote, “its these folk, shooting each other and selling that crack.”

Other troubles for African Americans are explained within Furious’ speech such as the fact that ‘every time you turn on the tv, that’s what you see black people, selling drugs,’ and how it isn’t a problem when they turn up at wall street where they are hardly any black people. Also the reference to brutalities towards young black adults, who are ‘dying on the streets every night.’

Without actually mentioning white people, Furious referenced towards white people are being the villains in this situation with the repetition of ‘they’ and referencing to Iowa, Beverly Hills and Wall Street, in which 92% of the population of Iowa is white with only 3.4% African American.  

In terms of assimilation and separatism, I feel this clip relates more to separatism as it doesn’t appear as though the characters are very favourable towards white America or in favour of joining their community. Firstly I think this through the quote of ‘keeping everything in the neighbourhood black’ as well as the focus on white people being the villains in this story. 

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