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The Film “Boyz N the Hood”: Gun Violence Essay

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2020


The American history analysts consider America as a nation of immigrants from diverse backgrounds. A popular notion is that racial prejudice has subjected the majority of the immigrants to poverty, illiteracy, crime, unemployment, and marginalization (Walker 140). Life adversity forces the Blacks and other immigrants to dwell in low-class houses commonly known as the slums, where violence and crime are almost inescapable. Through movies that feature the superiority of the blacks in the gunfire, youths from the real world emulate the movie actions (Bely 2).

In his movie, ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ John Singleton demonstrated a grave issue of gun violence that haunted the lives of the American minority youths. Recent 2013 American statistics about urban crime reveal that an annual average of 4,900 Black males suffers most from stray or intentional bullets. Being a traumatizing issue among the minority youth population, the problem is grave. This essay explores the theme of gun violence in the movie, ‘Boyz n the Hood.’

Youth and Gun Violence in the Movie

The Boyz n the Hood movie is a two-decade movie that reveals some miserable lifestyle that the teenagers of the poor and other minorities undergo within the urban area (Walker 141). The movie solely focuses on the lives of some Black teenagers that reside in the South-Central part of Los Angeles. John Singleton used three Black actors to demonstrate the way the Black American youths in cities of lawlessness and poverty that expose them to brutal life experiences (Walker 141).

The movie release occurred a few months after the Los Angeles police contributed to the death of 53 rioting youths. The movie consists of three young Black Americans known as Ricky, Tre, and Doughboy. The three boys lived in violent surroundings. The film has multiple breathtaking scenes of constant gunplay that reveal the extent of gang violence that the teenagers often experience from the law enforcers and from the fellow youth gangs (Walker 141).

More frequently, gunshots in the dark nights, followed by morning reports of wounded or dead youngsters were stories of common occurrence. The passage to manhood of Doughboy and Ricky is tragic, with the events of gunfire and deaths resulting from stray or deliberate bullets, quite familiar with them (Walker 141). Productive, but unemployed youths engage in gang-related violence that exposes them to fatal dangers. The movie displays several scenes of a red car with naughty, Black American boys, who constantly visit the neighborhoods of Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy (Walker 143).

The boys allied to Doughboy, would frequently use their illegal guns to storm their neighborhoods and sometimes hold the societies at gunpoint. They drive recklessly even putting young children at risk of accidents. The boys remain involved in a series of juvenile delinquencies through causing chaos in the community, or using their guns recklessly amongst themselves (Dyson 123). Illegal weaponry had permeated the South-Central part of the Los Angeles, and most youths possessed either a gun or a pistol.

The protagonist Tre is a 17-year-old youngster who learnt to survive in the humiliating gang environment, with most of his friends involved in crime and alcohol abuse. With strong local friendship bonds between the youths, Doughboy finds himself among the rowdy youths who battle using illegal guns. The boys in the movie develop strong friendship ties that lead to the formation of gangs that torture the neighborhoods with guns that they could access from anywhere around the city (Walker 143).

Berman asserts that some youth used guns to express their frustrations or demonstrate their manhood, consequently leading to reckless shootings and deaths (482). Ricky and Doughboy were half-brothers who lived with their single mother, Brenda, and due to the conspicuous absence of their fathers, the boys seemed accustomed to gang-violence (Dyson 125). Perceived as a trait of manhood, Tre learns gun violence from Doughboy and Ricky, to avenge against his father who was a disciplinarian. After death of Ricky, Tre rushes home to pick a gun, but the father confronts him.

City movies have a strong social influence on the viewers that may be dangerous to the youths who are may want to emulate the actions and use them defend themselves from exploitation (Kracauer 23). The case of Tre and the struggle of his father to control his aggressive behavior towards gun violence, reveals the manner in which the movie leads the youngsters astray in the real-world social environment. According to Dyson, an exposure to gun, gave Tre the courage to face the police officers who placed a gun on his neck (130).

Urban studies have revealed that cities are important places, where people can easily investigate how social life and cultural changes occur. The manner, in which Tre struggles to emulate the behavior of gun violence of his fellow age mates, was practicable to the many youngsters who watched this movie (Dyson 131). Cultural researches reveal that the exposure of youths to modern life has been most successful through the presence of the city films that spur behavioral changes among the youngsters (Kracauer 21).

The movie had a direct impact on the real world, and its first influence was eminent in the behavior of the youths across most of the American States (Dyson 127). In Los Angeles, when the Boyz n the Hood movie dominated the cinema halls and the broadcasting screens, the subsequent crime reports indicated that gun violence among the youth had augmented (Walker 142).

The social aspect of the movie in this case is negative, as the movie triggered an increase in gun proliferation and gang-related violence across America. Gun violence increased in the subsequent days of the film marketing and viewing. The aftermath of the film marketing involved crime cases of 30 people injured, and at least a single man left dead (Walker 142). In the movie, the youngsters Doughboy and Ricky view guns as perfect and the most effective weapons for quick vengeance or resistance against assaults from the police force and from the fellow youth enemies.


Boyz n the Hood is one of the classical American movies that demonstrate the plight of the minority groups. Due to poor parenting, poverty, and low education, youth easily access the proliferating guns, and use them amongst themselves or against the police officers. A series of cases of crime, gunfire, hooliganism, delinquency, and drug abuse occurs throughout the movie, with the state of economic hardship placing the youths at higher risks of engaging in gun violence.

A number of deaths resulting from stray bullets and intentional gunshots occur in several scenes in the movie, with the innocent and intelligent youths such as Tre, easily lured into gun violence and drug business. The social influence of the movie was apparent as it had massive impacts on the youths in the real world. Youths who admired the rowdy boys and their ability to avert exploitations using guns, imitated the actions of the movie practically, leading to serious crimes and deaths. I enjoyed that conlcusion. Well done part of the paper.

Works Cited

Bely, Andrei. Introduction: The founding myth of cinema, or the “train effect,” London: Rutledge Publishers, 1908. Print.

Berman, Stephanie. “View at your Own Risk: Gang Movies and Spectator Violence.” Law Review 12.2 (1992): 477-507. Print.

Dyson, Michael. “Between Apocalypse and Redemption: John Singleton’s ‘Boyz N the Hood.” Cultural Critique 21.1 (1992): 121-141. Print.

Kracauer, Siegfried. Modernity and city films: Berlin, London: Rutledge Publishers, 1967. Print.

Walker, Andre. “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about ‘what’s going on in the hood: A Social Disorganization Theory Approach to Boyz n the Hood.” McNair Scholars Journal 12.1 (2010): 139-151. Print.

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