Straight Outta Compton was a well-produced film featuring great acting performances by all the cast members, especially among the actors that portrayed the members of NWA Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), MC Ren (Aldis Hodge), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell). The film does an excellent job of recapturing the gritty streets of South Central Los Angeles during the height of the crack era in the 1980s.
NWA was great at expressing their frustrations towards a system that continues to treat black people as second class citizens. They encountered issues such as racism, police brutality, and freedom of expression. One scene in the film that stood out to me the most was when cops harassed NWA outside of their recording studio. The cops had them face down on the ground just because they were black.
As a result, it gave Ice Cube inspiration to write the song F____ the Police. This song still resonates to this day with people that have been harassed by the cops on a daily basis. Even though F______ the Police got criticism from the FBI, their lyrics reflected the environment they grew up in and NWA wanted to let the people know about what goes on in their community. They said things that many people were thinking about but were afraid to say.
NWA stood by their words and refused to back down despite the backlash they received. It takes a lot of courage to say what is right especially when you have been a victim of police brutality. Throughout the film, it portrays historical events that reflected the time period such as the 1991 Rodney King beating, Los Angeles Riots of 1992, and the truce between the Crips and Bloods street gangs.
The visuals and fashion trends fit the film perfectly like a glove. For example, NWA members wearing vintage black Raiders/Kings/Dodgers caps, jackets, rope chains, and jheri-curls reflected everything that the 1980s stood for. Everything from the cars to the music reflected the authenticity of the time period and made it much more exciting to watch.
Even though a majority of the older generation thinks that their music is obscene and disrespectful, it provided a voice for the younger generation to express themselves without fear of judgment from others. The older generation fails to realize that each era is different and you should not expect everyone to respond the same way. It is no different than the older generation that listened to Richard Pryor when they were our age.
Richard Pryor cursed a lot in his comedy shows, but it helped him convey his message to the audience. Even though Asian kids might not go through the same issues that black kids do in this country, their struggle is different. In countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam, many children are expected to conform to the status quo.
For many of us, it means attending school, studying hard and getting a job to support yourself. As a young person, I strongly believe that young people should have the right to say what is on their mind. A lot of times, the older generation expects us to keep quiet and do what we are told. However, times are changing and more young people are starting to voice their opinions. Each of us can improve our situation but it takes commitment and courage to make it happen.
The film demonstrated how NWA revolutionized hip-hop worldwide and engaged young people to become more conscious of their role in society. They represented a cultural movement that lives on to this day especially with the riots happening in Ferguson, Missouri during the last few months. Over time, NWA transcended racial and cultural barriers that could be felt around the world.