This year, 1991, marks the 25th anniversay of Singleton's film and Cube's big screen debut. It is also the quarter-century mark for the Rodney King beatings that are reflected aptly in Compton, and which served as a powerful call to action for the cause of race in policing. Yet, it was a poignant moment for my teenage son to see the footage in the film from more than two decades ago and try to reconcile that with the Trayvon Martin murder, the Michael Brown tragedy, the Eric Garner story, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Groups like NWA, individuals like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, and artists like John Singleton put a spotlight on a corner of America that mainstream America would just as soon not know about, or easily dismiss with priviliged comments about "personal responsiblity." Yet, a quarter-century later, how far have we come to realistically be almost nowhere in the race discussion.
Generation X has been a group forged by the challenges of a disconnect between the narratives we heard and the realities we lived and witnessed. Films like Boyz and music like Compton and F--- the Police are simply more examples of generation of Americans searching for authenticity in a world seemingly devoid of it.
Straight Outta Compton is a bold attempt to remind us of that quest.