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Boyz in the Hood is an American movie starring Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Regina King, Angela Bassett, and Nia Long. Written and directed by John Singleton in 1991, the movie portrays life in the deprived South Central (presently South) Los Angeles.

Prior to the introduction scene of the film, 2 messages appear on the screen: "One out of every twenty-one Black American males will be murdered in their lifetime" followed by "Most will die at the hands of another Black male." The plot starts in South Central, LA in October 1984 with 10yr-old Tré Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and 3 other young boys on their way to school, stopping to look over a crime scene. Tré gets a 3-day suspension in school due to misbehavior after fighting a classmate. Tré's mother, when talking about the disciplinary problems with his teacher, Reva (played by Angela Bassett), shocks from the teacher by mentioning her education and Tré's father. The teacher was oblivious of Tré's father existence. Annoyed with her incapacity to rein in Tré's record of defiance, the mother sends Tré to his father Furious Styles (played by Laurence Fishburne), who lives in the Crenshaw area of South Central LA hoping that Tré will discover life lessons.



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On Tré's arrival, the father orders him to rake the lawn and allocates other domestic roles.  Tré's father points out to him that even though these responsibilities might appear unwarranted and cruel, learning to be responsible will shape Tré into a man and help him avoid being killed or incarcerated. On his first night in his father’s house, Tré hears his Furious shooting at a thief. The cops come over an hour later and classify the crime as trivial because nothing was stolen and the thief run away unhurt. Later Tré joins up with former friends Ricky (played by Donovan McCrary) and Darrin "Doughboy" Baker (portrayed by Baha Jackson), along with Chris (portrayed by Kenneth Brown), a silent and introverted young man. Ricky together with Doughboy (maternal half-brothers) lives in a tiny house with their mother. Whilst Ricky is naïve, Doughboy is forceful and street-savvy. When walking to the location of a corpse, the trio is pestered by a teen mob, who takes Ricky's ball. Doughboy decides to fight back and is kicked in the abdomen. Another elder teenager later gives the ball back to Ricky. Furious, who seems to be the lone present father in the hood, goes on a fishing expedition with Tré. He tells him of the dangers of unprotected sex and along with the task of parenthood. On return from the fishing trip, the pair finds Doughboy and Chris being arrested by cops for theft.

Seven years afterwards, a welcome home party is held at the Baker residence. Doughboy (portrayed by Ice Cube), a high school drop out, has just been freed from jail, are playing dominoes with pals, Chris (played by Redge Green), who is in a wheelchair, Dookie, and Monster. Ricky (portrayed by Morris Chestnut), now the star running-back for Crenshaw High School, lives with his mother Brenda (played by Tyra Ferrell) and girlfriend Shanice (played by Alysia Rogers), and his baby son. Tré has a stable job in the Fox Hills Mall, and has shunned gangs whilst doing well at school. He and his girlfriend look forward to going to college.

A college football coach guarantees Ricky a sports scholarship at USC on the condition that he earns at least a SAT score of seven hundred. Later on in a street-racing meeting, a gang member goads Ricky and his defense Doughboy waves a gun and the meeting turns into a gunfight (although no one is injured). While speeding as they try to leave, Tré and Ricky are stopped by the LA police. The lead cop is the one who answered to Furious' 911-theft call earlier. The officer is a stereotypical ‘self-loathing’ black officer who – with the power of his badge - thrusts a gun in Tré's face telling him that he cannot do anything about it. On an emotional rollercoaster, Tré goes to Brandi's place at night and they end up having sex. Later on, while Ricky and Tré are returning from the grocery store run into Ferris and his gang and take many shortcuts to get away for the interim. Eventually Ricky is shot dead as the duo walk home. Later Brenda discovers that Ricky's had scored a 710 in his test, just sufficient to be eligible for scholarship.

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Doughboy, Monster, Dookie, and Tré undertake retribution on the rival gang. Tré father finds him with his .357 Magnum handgun and persuades him to ditch his plans. Tré however creeps out art night to link up with the gang as they look for Ferris. As the gang drives in LA, Tré recognizes the mistake he is making and gets out of the car. The gang later locates Ferris and his gang in a food joint, and shooting at them using an AK-47 killing one and injuring the others. Doughboy jumps out of the vehicle and personally kills Ferris together with the rest using his .45, to avenge his brother's killing.

The following morning, Doughboy stopover at Tré’s now aware of why Tré's reasons deserted the crew. Doughboy now knows he will have to deal with revenge for Ferris' death, and acknowledges the cost of his actions. The last scene shows Doughboy pouring out the left over malt alcohol as a symbol of respect for his deceased brother. His killing by an enemy gang 2 weeks afterwards is showed as the epilogue. The epilogue further states that both Tré and Brandi went to college.

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In your own words, define the terms subculture and counterculture.

In any society, a faction of its members might create a subculture dissimilar from the central culture. Some ideals, rites, or signs could be shared by the central culture and the subculture, although the subculture will, largely, emphasize on different viewpoints and guides for action. A subculture could have its values, customs and standards, although they are normally capable of existing within central culture. This is because the subcultures political beliefs as well as social arrangement might not be as forthright as those of a main culture might. Their way of life might be diverse enough to single them out however are not at loggerheads with society. Majority of the subcultures are founded on aesthetics or shared interest.

In the film Boyz in the Hood, two subcultures can be seen. The first would be the general society living in the South Central LA ghetto. This society, predominately African-American, is set apart by the conditions of their lives, stucco tract residences, the alike and uncut front lawns, the old and cordoned businesses, along with the trash-filled streets. Even though this subculture do not like or choose being members of the subculture, it dissimilar to the rest of the society. The second subculture in the movie is Black teenaged boys who are depicted as being raised by a single parent (and mostly a woman) in homes where they grow in poverty, drug abuse, criminal activity, and wide desperation, which pushes them to gang associations.

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If the developed subculture is in direct contradiction with the central culture, it is known as a counterculture. A counterculture is a culture that acts in response to the common culture in place and is aimed at swinging the pendulum in the opposed direction. In truth, the expression counterculture has a political connotation in the sense it is directly opposing the conventional culture in place with the aim of causing societal change. A counterculture differs with the conventional culture in their political views, customs, social values, dress code, as well as social structures. A counterculture in general develops when a sufficiently huge following develops to confront the leading culture of the time and aggressively works at loggerheads with the conventional culture. A good instance of countercultures all through the previous century could be the suffragists along with feminists, hippies as well as some punk movements. All of these countercultures have explicit values and principles that seek to affect some form of critical transformation in the convection culture.

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There is no clear-cut instance of counter culture in the film Boyz in the Hood, although Furious can be seen to try to start one when he takes the lads to Compton. Here he discusses gentrification with them along with a collection of citizens. He explains how the dominant culture of hostility and drug abuse split the African-American community by diminishing the value of their property thus making it possible for real estate firms to purchase the land inexpensively from black people and sell it at a good profit. Furious tells the multitude that people outside the community will not help them since they are not affected by culture.

Define folkways, mores, and taboos

Sociologists have divided norms into 4 groupings: folkways, mores, taboos, and laws.

A folkway is a norm for daily conduct that members of a society follow just for expediency or as custom. People follow folkways for the simple reason that they have always done things that way or have done it for an extensive time. Contravening a folkway would not generally have severe penalty.

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A more - articulated as more-ay - is a norm founded on morals, or the societies definition of right and wrong. Since mores have moral worth, members of a society have strong feelings concerning them and their breach generally results in condemnation.


A taboo is a norm that a certain society holds in such a strong way that if a member of the society is in violation, the upshot is extreme abhorrence. The member who violates the norm is often considered unfit to reside in the society in question.

Define and give examples of the terms ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

Ethnocentrism is the standpoint that a certain ethnic group is in some way superior to the other or others. The expression ‘ethnocentrism’ is derived from the Greek expression ‘ethnos’, which means nation or ‘people,’ along with the English expression ‘center’. A widespread phrase that refers to ethnocentrism is ‘tunnel vision.’ In this framework, ethnocentrism is the viewpoint that a certain ethnic group’s structure of attitude and standards is ethically better than other or others. Ethnocentrism is a normally employed expression in societies where ethnicity, inter-ethnic relationships, and alike social problems are a concern. Ethnocentrism can be defined as ‘considering a group’s (whether own or not) ways and customs to be better than others’ or ‘judging an ethnic group to be lesser than another group’. ‘Ethnic’ means cultural legacy while ‘centrism’ means the key starting point. Thus, ‘ethnocentrism’ is judging ethnic groups from another cultural viewpoint. In the movie Boyz in the Hood, the lead officer of the LAPD team that pulls over Tré and Ricky can be said to be Ethnocentric. He can be described as the stereotypical ‘self-hating’ African-American police officer who thinks that blacks are inferior and misuses the power of their badge to feel superior.

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Cultural relativism on the other hand is viewpoint that particular beliefs and values structures are ethnically relative. This means that no one ethnic set owns the right to claim that their beliefs and values system, or their viewpoint of the world, is in one way or the other better than anyone else’s organization of beliefs and values. What is right for a particular culture may be wrong for another and that is okay. There is no fixed measure of right and wrong that can be used to compare and contrast morally differing cultural standards. In Moyz in the Hood, Furious appears to be a cultural relativist. He does not believe that the black ethnic group is inferior or superior to the white community.

What social message does this film impart? What insights does this film offer about our social world?

The poignant social message that Singleton is attempting to impart in the film Boyz N the Hood is the influence that a father has on a youthful urban African-American person who lives in a ghetto and then the effect of being without a father in the ghetto. However, the influence of a father in a young man life is not the only social message in the film. The problem of racism, which has always been fundamental in American politics as well as culture, has been part of the film industry from its earliest years. Boyz N the Hood was created at a period when LA was experiencing riots along with racial strains provoked by police cruelty towards Rodney King.  Boyz N the Hood turned out to be a critical as well as commercial sensation, employing the usual dramatic effects to investigate and bring out the problem of firearm culture, manliness, drug abuse, sex as well as the responsibility of parenthood. It is an excellent case in point of a widespread compilation of films concerning the lives of youthful black men in modern, urban America.

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If the depiction of the LA ghetto in Boyz ‘N the Hood is correct, then the issues and socio-economical conditions of Black America are a vicious cycle and are hard restraint to overcome. The continuous exposure of children and teenagers to violence, drugs, and the selective treatments from White as well as Blacks alike (for example the Black cop that responded to the 911 call when the intruder run away Furious’ residence and his off-putting remarks on his “brothers”) leaves everybody in this environment disposed to believe and internalize the stereotypes against them. The film was excellent in revealing the common struggles along with issues that ghetto teenagers face (alcohol, drugs, and guns). However, it failed to confront the relaxed demeanor of White Americans by avoiding depicting divergence of blacks and whites.


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