Boyz out the hood? Geographical, linguistic and social mobility in John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood

Andrés Bartolomé Leal


In contrast with many of the films said to belong to the ‘hood films’ cycle of the nineties, John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood (1991) sober and realistically portrays the hardships of blacks’ existence in the Los Angeles’ neighbourhood of South Central. For the film, as this paper aims to demonstrate, the inability of the ‘hood residents to escape the geographical and social constrains of their environment is a direct outcome of the longdistance control that the mainly white dominant elites exert over their existence. Through the confronting lifestyles that the characters embody, the film exemplifies the different possible attitudes towards the place/race-biased identities that the life in the ‘hood motivates. In order to contest the social determinism that seems to dominate the life of the residents of the ‘hood, Tre’s character stands out as epitome of the film’s ideology in favour of education and respect, and not violence, as the way to survive this socialpolitical scheme.


Identity; film; mobility; race; representation; Socio-Pragmatics

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