Twenty-five years ago, Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton's movie about life in South Central Los Angeles, revolutionized black film and launched the big-screen careers of its stars, including Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut and Regina King. The critically acclaimed film was also Singleton's directorial debut. And today, Boyz n the Hood sits on several lists of top films you must see in your lifetime. In the past couple of decades, the leading cast members have stayed very busy in Hollywood. Take a look at how time has treated the director's and cast's careers.
Believe it or not, Singleton was only 23 when Boyz n the Hood hit the theaters. He was the first African American and the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. He was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Most recently, Singleton directed an episode of FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story as well as an episode of Fox's Empire. In early June, Deadline reported that the cast had been set for his police-drama pilot, Rebel, which will air on BET. In 2010 he produced an episode for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series on Marion Jones. Since his directorial debut, he has often featured hip-hop artists in his films, including Tupac Shakur (Poetic Justice), Tyrese Gibson (Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious) and, of course, Ice Cube (Higher Learning). He also produced the indie hit Hustle and Flow, which put some shine on Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.
Before her quick scenes in Boyz n the Hood as Tre’s mom, Bassett was using her acting chops in TV series and TV movies. (She was in a few episodes of The Cosby Show and in an episode of 227.) It was 1992 when her career took off, when she starred in The Jacksons: An American Dream and Malcolm X. She was nominated for an Oscar for her 1993 starring turn as Anna Mae Bullock—Tina Turner—in What’s Love Got to Do With It.
Most recently she’s been a co-star on FX’s American Horror Story. In the past few years, she’s played Coretta Scott King (Betty & Coretta), Biggie’s mom (Notorious), the voice of Michelle Obama (The Simpsons) and a hoity-toity mother (Jumping the Broom). As for offscreen work, Bassett is set to launch a skin care line for dark-skinned women in July.
Little Brenda (her character in 227) is all grown up, with dookie braids to boot, in Boyz n the Hood. King played Shalika, a quick-mouthed friend of Brandi’s.
She’s been very busy working in Hollywood for the past 25 years. Most recently she was a co-star on ABC’s American Crime for two seasons (she will appear on season 3, too) and featured in season 2 of HBO’s The Leftovers. King has also flexed her directing muscles and took the helm of Scandal for one episode and several episodes of Being Mary Jane. For several seasons, she starred as Detective Lydia Adams on TNT’s Southland. But if you want to see her candid as ever, watch her on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.
Brandi is the apple of Tre’s eye. She is smart, good-looking and headed to Spelman to be “across the way” from Tre at Morehouse. He even breaks down and cries in front of her. (Nia Long and Regina King actually appeared on one episode of 227 together. And she later co-starred in Friday with Ice Cube.)
Long has also had a steady career since her Crenshaw days. She has often worked with her Boyz cast mates: with Morris Chestnut in 1999 in The Best Man, and with Ice Cube in Friday and Are We There Yet? Currently, she stars opposite Mike Epps on a new ABC comedy, Uncle Buck.
Ferrell played Brenda, mother of the year to Ricky and Doughboy.
Brenda to Doughboy: “You ain’t s—t. You just like your daddy. You don’t do s—t, and you never gonna amount to s—t. All you do is eat, sleep and s—t.”
Brenda to Ricky: “My baby is going to a university. I always knew you would amount to something. When you were a little boy, you used to run around here all the time with that football. Remember that? I’m proud of you.”
After a 10-year hiatus, Ferrell reappeared on the small screen in 2015 as Roxanne Ford on Fox’s hit series Empire. Before then, you might have seen Ferrell as Ms. Ella in David Simon’s acclaimed HBO miniseries The Corner in 2000. And in 2005 she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her role in the television movie NTSB: The Crash of Flight 323.
Mr. Lewis Crump has the golden ticket for Ricky to get out of South Central Los Angeles. But first Ricky needs to score a 700 on his SATs. When Crump tells Ricky “I think you can do anything you put your mind to,” it looks as if it is the first time Ricky actually believes—or has heard—that statement.
Cothran has been in more than 100 titles since his career began, and he has stayed consistently busy. In the last several years he has appeared on TV series Murder in the First, NCIS: Los Angeles, Outlaw, Private Practice, Cold Case and Grey’s Anatomy.
Tre Styles, who works at Fox Hills Mall, is smart, has a beautiful girlfriend and is learning how to be a good man through the wise words of his father. He is determined to get out of Los Angeles, by any means necessary, and ends up at Morehouse College. Hmmm, wonder what Tre Styles would be up to in 2016? (Side note: We think the “Styles” surname is fitting, considering he rocks that gold-and-black Gordon Gartrell dress shirt.)
Who could forget when Little Tre was called an “African booty scratcher” (a classic, albeit offensive, ’90s diss) at the start of the film? Hines, who played young Quick in Harlem Nights (1989), had a role in House Party (1990) before he landed the role of Tre at 10.
Hines had a few minor roles after playing Tre, in The Intern and City of Angels, both short films. According to IMDb, he’s a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. Here’s a recent pic of him from Instagram with John Singleton.
McCrary, who’s the younger brother of Darius McCrary (Eddie Winslow from Family Matters), played young Ricky. This was his first and last feature-film appearance.
After his appearance in Boyz n the Hood, McCrary had a few appearances in ’90s sitcoms, including Sister, Sister and, of course, Family Matters, with his brother. He’s now making music. You can follow him on Twitter and listen to a few tracks here.
Sibling rivalry at its best:
Doughboy at 10: Dat’s my lady, homie. Her name is Brandi.
Ricky at 10: Man, she ain’t your woman. She my woman.
Doughboy at 10: How can she be yo’ woman when she my lady?
Ricky at 10: She my wife.
Doughboy at 10: She may be your wife, but I stick my ding-a-ling in her every night, so that makes her mine.
After Boyz, Jackson stayed in Hollywood for small roles in 3 Ninjas (1992), Poetic Justice (1993) and Mr. Jones (1993). Currently, he is a chef based in Atlanta.
Green, who played Lil Chris, was, in essence, playing himself. He had been the victim of street violence in his hometown of Richmond, Calif. At age 6 he was shot and paralyzed from the waist down.
Green hasn’t acted since his role as Lil Chris, but he’s been busy inspiring kids to succeed despite their circumstances. He became a motivational speaker and has his own nonprofit organization, Empowering Youth. He is also a minister with BrotheRedge Ministries.
Rogers played Shanice, Ricky’s live-in baby mama. She didn’t have too many lines other than apologizing for interrupting Ricky’s college-admissions interview to chase after the child.
Just one year after her film debut, Rogers appeared opposite Kid ’n Play in Class Act. Where is she now? Well, according to her Instagram page, she’s a proud mother, hard worker and positivity enthusiast. You can follow her here.
Hollywood treated the main actors in Boyz n the Hood fairly well. In 1997, Gooding won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in Jerry Maguire. (Remember his super-ecstatic acceptance speech?) Fast-forward nearly 20 years and Gooding has just completed a star turn in the hit TV miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The last decade has kept the actor relatively busy with roles on the small screen (The Book of Negroes, Forever and Big Time in Hollywood, Florida) as well as on the big screen (Selma and Lee Daniels’ The Butler).
Gobert played Dooky, the Jheri-curled, pacifier-sucking friend to Doughboy and his crew. His credits include Poetic Justice and Higher Learning. Just before Higher Learning was released in 1994, Gobert was fatally shot at a drag race in Southern California. He was 22.
You may not recognize his name, but Avery was the triggerman in Boyz n the Hood. His character didn’t even get a real name in the film; according to IMDb, he played “knucklehead #2.”
Avery appeared in Poetic Justice (1993), Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996), Lockdown (2000) and Focus (2001). He was even in an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., in which he played a gang member. But apparently his on-screen life didn’t differ too much from his real life. In 2001 he was convicted of double homicide. He was murdered in jail in 2005.
Furious Styles has plenty of words of wisdom for his son, Tre, and his friends. He talks gentrification, birth control, drug epidemic, gang violence and race relations.
Fun fact: Fishburne and Singleton met on the set of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, on which Fishburne (then known as Larry) played Cowboy Curtis.
A new generation of TV watchers are getting to know Fishburne as Pops Johnson on ABC’s hit TV show Black-ish. He also most recently portrayed Alex Haley in the A&E reboot of the TV miniseries Roots. In October, Deadline reported that Fishburne would portray Nelson Mandela in the upcoming TV series about the South African activist’s life. In 2011 HBO aired Thurgood, in which he played Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. And he played opposite fellow Boyz cast member (and What’s Love Got to Do With It co-star) Angela Bassett in 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee.
"Riiiiiiccccccckkkkkyyyyy!" Ricky Baker is destined for football stardom. But his dreams are cut short because of '90s violence in South Central L.A. Boyz n the Hood was Chestnut's feature-film debut.
If you watched the 2016 BET Awards, you know that Chestnut is slated to star in the upcoming thriller When the Bough Breaks, opposite Regina Hall. This fall he will enter the second season of Rosewood on Fox, where he plays Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. But in the 2000s, he came to be known as the suave, chocolate brother in every other romantic comedy, including The Brothers (2001), Two Can Play That Game (2001), Breakin’ All the Rules (2004), The Perfect Holiday (2007) and Not Easily Broken (2009). Random Chestnut greatness: when Khadijah and others fight over him in Living Single and his role in the short-lived TV series Out All Night with Patti LaBelle.
“Either they don’t know, don’t show or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.” Doughboy’s poignant words about the media still resonate today.
Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) has come a long way since his days as a Jheri-curl-wearing gangsta rapper. He’s starred, written and directed films. He’s built a family (he’s been married for over 20 years and has four kids). Most recently, he starred in the third installment of Barbershop and the sequel to Ride Along. In 2015 he was an executive producer on Straight Outta Compton, the highly acclaimed biopic on N.W.A, with his son O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing Ice Cube as a young OG. Cube and the group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.