Baby Boy

 Baby Boy Production NotesIn 1991, 23-year-old director John Singleton guided viewers

through South Central Los Angeles, taking for the first time an unflinching

look at the devastating impact of violence on the black family. Boyz N the Hood ’s realistic portrayal

of the inner city changed the face of black cinema forever.

Ten years later, the Academy Award®-nominated

director and writer returns to the same inner-city L.A. neighborhood and its

complex social and political issues for the story of Jody (Tyrese Gibson), a misguided, 20-year-old

African-American male who is really just a ‘baby boy’ finally forced—kicking

and screaming—to face the commitments of real life.

Streetwise and

jobless, he has not only fathered two children by two different women—Yvette

(Taraji P. Henson) and Peanut (Tamara LaSeon Bass)—but still lives with his own

mother. He can’t seem to strike a balance or find direction in his chaotic

life. To make matters worse, Jody must contend with his volatile best friend,

Sweetpea (Omar Gooding), who has spent his life shuffling in and out of prison

and seems to find trouble wherever he goes.

In the meantime,

Jody’s 36-year-old mother, Juanita (A.J. Johnson), has finally started to live

her life again and is dating Melvin (Ving Rhames), a reformed O.G. (“old

gangster”). Juanita is enjoying the simple things in life—her mantras, her

garden, her new man—and wants Jody to finally take responsibility for his own

life and children. Once Melvin moves in, there’s little room in the nest for a

kid who’s overstayed his welcome and is perfectly content to ride the line

between boy and man.

Inevitably, on a journey filled with violence, romance, tears and

laughter, Jody must face Melvin, both his “baby mamas,” a new adversary, Rodney

(Snoop Dogg), and his own fears of adulthood if he wants to escape the life of

a baby boy.

Baby Boy, a

cautionary South Central tale that pulls no punches as it examines the

complexities of the extended black family, is a Columbia Pictures presentation

of a New Deal Production, a John Singleton film. Baby Boy is written and directed by John Singleton. Producers are

Singleton and Dwight Williams. The creative team includes cinematographer

Charles E. Mills, production designer Keith Brian Burns, costume designer Ruth

Carter and editor Bruce Cannon. Baby Boy has been rated R by the MPAA for


about the production


me, this movie is like watching the soul of a black man on screen,” says John

Singleton. “It may be dysfunctional, but it’s real. I’m not celebrating

something that is not reality; I’m just being honest to a story that I’m

familiar with.”

Adds Ving Rhames,

who plays reformed convict Melvin, “this movie is like Unforgiven—no one is wearing a halo on his head. Everyone in this

movie is human. They’ve become who they’ve become due to circumstances,

situations, their environments and their relationships.”

Baby Boy gives voice to the many young black men who

have yet to embrace the responsibilities of adulthood while at the same time

illustrating what single mothers go through attempting to raise young men on

their own. “This movie is about a generation of young black men who haven’t

grown up,” says Singleton. “They’ve all been raised by women, so they’re always

trying to show how much of a man they are when what they really are are baby


“I like the fact

that John basically says, ‘look, this is what happens, what has happened, what

is still going to happen in our communities if we as black men don’t take

control of the black family unit,’” says Rhames.

Though it addresses similar issues, Singleton stresses that Baby Boy is a companion piece, not a

sequel, to Boyz N the Hood.

“This movie is the third of what I

call my ‘hood trilogy,’” explains the director. “The first was Boyz N the Hood, the second was Poetic Justice and the third is Baby

Boy. Baby Boy is set in South Central L.A. and is based on...

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