Boyz N the Hood: Shifting Hollywood Terrain, Second Edition
Published by: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Imprint: Peter Lang, International Academic Publishers
Sales Date: 2022-06-30
Published: June 2022
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
6.00 x 9.00 in
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In 1991, Boyz N the Hood made history as an important film text and the impetus for a critical national conversation about American urban life in African American communities, especially for young urban black males. Boyz N the Hood: Shifting Hollywood Terrain is an interdisciplinary examination of this iconic film. Beyond the two historic Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Director for John Singleton, the first African American male nominee and the youngest nominee ever in the category, Boyz N the Hood’s induction into the Library of Congress National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board, speaks to the film’s iconic and meaningful impact in film history and American culture. This interdisciplinary approach to the film provides an in-depth critical perspective of Boyz N the Hood, as the embodiment of the blues—how Boyz intimates a world beyond the symbolic world Singleton posits, its fictive stance pivots to a constituent truth in the real world. This book is as much about the filmmaker as it is about the film. It explores John Singleton’s cinematic voice and helps explicate his propensity for a type of folk elements in his work (the oral tradition and lore). In addition, the text features critical perspectives from the filmmaker himself and other central figures attached to the production, including first-hand account of the behind the scenes during production by Steve Nicoladies, Boyz’s producer, and an intimate conversation with Shelia Morgan Ward, Singleton’s chief executive/business manager and mother. The text is a critical resource guide and includes Singleton’s original screenplay and a range of critical articles and initial movie reviews.
List of Credits – Acknowledgments – Preface – Introduction: Shifting Hollywood Terrain: The Iconic Status of Boyz N the Hood – Prologue: "I am an Invisible Man": Boyz and the Literary and Cinematic Imagination – Singleton’s Cinematic Voice – Boyz N the Hood: Shifting the Terrain of Urban Cinema – A "Soulful" Director: An Interview with John Singleton – Launching Singleton’s Career: An Interview with Steve Nicolaides, Producer – Principal Cast and Crew: Reflective Perspectives on Boyz – Original Boyz Press Kit – Original Screenplay: Boyz N the Hood by John Singleton – Critical Perspectives on Boyz N the Hood – Epilogue Boyz and the Blues: A Legacy of Resistance and Hope – Index.
“At long last comes a book we have all been waiting for: Joi Carr’s masterful examination of John Singleton’s classic Boyz N the Hood. Throughout, her wide-ranging scholarship is impressive, and her analysis is illuminating. She elucidates the perhaps surprising historical/creative links between Singleton’s work, Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Also included in this valuable book are the screenplay of the film plus insightful critical essays as well as a series of interviews conducted by Carr. Her interview with Singleton reveals the autobiographical themes that went into his directorial debut as well as directors he was influenced by. Her interview with Boyz producer Steve Nicolaides says much about the state of the movie industry at the time the film went into production. Then there is her interview with actress Tyra Ferrell, who played Mrs. Baker, the mother of Dough Boy and Ricky, in the film. The Ferrell interview builds to indicate to us the position of African American women in Hollywood in the 1990s and of course, today. There is also a seemingly brief moment in the interview when Ferrell recounts an incident on set when she was not fully into her character—and how Singleton handled the situation, which succinctly reveals to us his direct, perhaps blunt, creative skills as a director as well as Ferrell’s creative awareness as an actress. Ferrell also has telling comments about her experience when working on White Men Can’t Jump. Dr. Carr also brings to her work an awareness of cultural life in Los Angeles and the dangers that exist for African American males who must walk a tightrope to survive.
Most significant, in so much of this book, we see a young director (not long out of film school) coming into his own and adroitly helming a major production that was cheered when shown at the Cannes Film Festival and that has affected moviegoers (black and also white) in a way that few other films in history have ever done.
This book is an accomplished, enlightening piece of work, a great companion to Singleton’s film. Highly recommended!”
Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History
of Blacks in American Films, 5th Edition, and Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography
University of Pennsylvania
New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts
“This wise and pioneering book is the first serious and substantive treatment of John Singleton’s classic film! This film and book speak with great courage and insight into the plight and predicament of young black men. Don’t miss this book!!”
Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy,
Professor Emeritus, Princeton University