“I make dough, but don’t call me dough-boy.” -Ice Cube (Check Your Self)
Rapper Ice Cube distances himself from the iconic character he played in “Boyz N The Hood” , but the circumstances that are faced by the generations coming up after still affect many. The 1991 film is a classic, and resonates 25 years after its release.
Doughboy is a play loosely based off of the life of the classic character from “Boyz in The Hood”. Written by Paul “PJ The Closer” Johnson and Stanley Fritz, Doughboy is the acting debut of Aulton Hargett. Produced by Rainy Dayz Films, it is a commentary on many issues, from the vantage point of the 19 year old character.
Interspersed with humor, the play talks about the cradle to prison pipeline, and the cycle of violence that befalls people in under-served communities. There are no shortage of traps to be navigated, and some of the best ways to show that is to poke fun at the hypocrisy of ostensibly expecting excellence, but intentionally setting up youth to fail.
At this viewing, I thought it was pretty well balanced with commentary, but not done in a preachy way. There was a strong anti-religious streak, in support of critical thinking and introspection that is at times discouraged in environments of worship. In showing how problematic Christianity can be, I am sure it may be off putting to some, but it’s important to understand why there is a “belief gap” between Millennials and people from earlier generations.
Doughboy had a good supporting cast, although it was mostly a one man show. Aulton Hargett brought the West Coast to Harlem by showing the range of emotions as Doughboy grew through the situations he was placed in.
This play was edgy, but not in a forced way. It was edgy in the sense that it had an irreverent attitude towards official politics, Reagan, Clinton, drug wars, etc. The mention of so many Bush-isms made for an entertaining reminder, yet ugly portent about what kind of dense statements we may be in for come after November.
These are issues that people tend to not want to hear discussed, so how one does it is important. Doughboy was an cool play, and I would like to see what else Rainy Dayz Films has in store.