Film / Baby Boy

There's this psychiatrist...a lady named Dr. Frances Cress Welsing. She has a theory about the black man in America. She says that because of the system of racism, the black man has been made to think of himself as a baby...a not yet fully formed human being who has not realized his full potential. To support her claim, she offers the following: First...what does a black man call his woman? Momma. Second, what does a black man call his closest acquaintances? His boys. And finally, what does a black man call his place of residence? The crib.
— Opening narration

Baby Boy is a 2001 movie directed by John Singleton as a sort of follow-up to his smash Boyz n the Hood, and while it wasn't as acclaimed, it still received generally positive reviews.

The movie concerns Joseph "Jody" Summers, a young, selfish, immature black man in South Central LA who wants to live large but doesn't have a job. He's got two children by two different women, Yvette and Peanut, and has been living with his mother Juanita for several years. As Jody deals with the increasing pressures of adult responsibility, he also contends with his troubled best friend Sweetpea and new adversary Rodney. And then there's his mother's new live-in boyfriend Melvin, a reformed gangsta who agrees with Juanita that her son should grow up, move out, and move on.

Tupac Shakur's "Hail Mary" plays in one scene and he was set to star in the movie before his murder.


  • Asshole Victim: Rodney
  • Being Evil Sucks: This is how Sweetpea feels, which is the reason why he chose to get baptized.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: In a way yeah, only the protagonist is over 20 years old.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jody and Melvin.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted in the first post-opening credits scene, in which Yvette aborts what would have been her second child with Jody. She's still treated sympathetically, as she's heartbroken during the procedure.
  • Hollywood California: Specifically, Watts.
  • Immodest Orgasm: The sex scenes in this movie are rather... loud.
  • Jerkass: Jody has his moments early on, as does Melvin, but Rodney is a better example as the film's villain figure.
  • Karma Houdini: Jody and Sweet Pea turn off the power to Yvette's house while Rodney is alone inside and ambush him when he comes out to check it, ultimately gunning him down in the streets. It's implied that Yvette was in on this scheme. None of them are shown facing any repercussions.
  • Kick the Dog: Or more accurately, Kick The Fort. Rodney kicks down his ex-girlfriend's son's pillow fort, to drive home that he is not at all a pleasant guy.
  • Lean and Mean: Rodney. Kinda inevitable, considering he's played by Snoop Dogg.
  • Manchild: Jody is around 20 years old, still lives with his mother, doesn't have his own car (he constantly drives Yvette's car).
  • Momma's Boy: Deconstructed. Juanita and Melvin both want Jody to grow up and stop being selfish. They also want him out of the house. Heck, Jody even gets mocked for living with his mother.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Sweetpea gives one of the thugs who robbed Jody at the liquor store one of these...with his belt.
  • Oedipus Complex: Melvin suggests that Jody suffers from this, given his evident resentment of Melvin's presence.
  • Rape as Drama: Late in the film, Rodney attempts to rape Yvette, but only stops when her young son comes into the room.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jody was originally going to be portrayed by Tupac Shakur, who was gunned down before the film moved beyond pre-production. As such, Tupac was posthumously included in the film (via family photos and a large wall painting in Jody's room) as Jody's deceased older brother. Being that he was murdered shortly after Juanita's former boyfriend kicked him out of the house, it serves as major plot device for Jody's unwillingness to move out himself and his antagonism toward Melvin.
  • Real Men Cook: Jody is not pleased to encounter a half-naked Melvin in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for Juanita.
  • Scary Black Man: Juanita's new boyfriend Melvin appears like this to Jody for much of the film. Of course, he is played by Ving Rhames.
    • Rodney is definitely this toward Yvette and her/Jody's son, and to a lesser extent, Jody himself.
  • Shout-Out: Tupac Shakur was originally going to star as Jody, but was infamously murdered before production got underway. The film pays homage to him to referring to him as Jody's older (and murdered) brother and having a huge picture of him hanging up in Jody's room as well as other family photos showing Tupac in this role.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Boyz n the Hood.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Juanita had Jody while still a teenager.
  • Wall Bang Her: In an early scene, Melvin does this to Juanita... but quickly ends up changing to "the African Squat Fuck", in which he squat-hops across the room, while he's screwing her.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jody is known for this. When confronted about this by Yvette, he admits to it but states that he fucks other women and makes love to her. He had stopped cheating at that point but told her he still was since he figured she wasn't going to believe him anyway.