Updated: Jan 10, 2018
Menace II Society released in theaters on May 26, 1993 and opened to 3.8 million dollars. Movies are determined by their box office success, but when it comes to a film such as this one, Menace II Society means so much more. It represented the reality of so many black men in Los Angeles, and all over the country, in the early 1990's.
Menace was directed by the Hughes brothers, and after a controversial dispute with rapper Tupac Shakur, the film was casted with relatively unknown actors who would soon come to be some of Black America's household names. Tyrin Turner, a new comer on the scene stars as Caine Lawson, a young man who was "raised" by a drug dealing father and a mother who was an addict. His Christian grandparents soon took him in, but that relationship didn't change his actions. Jada Pinkett Smith, then known as Jada Pinkett, was known for her work as Lena James on A Different World, with Menace being her first role, she stole the scene as young hard-working mother, Ronnie. Other actors such as - Larenz Tate, Clinfton Powell, and even Samuel L. Jackson, all made appearances in the film. Since 1993, their careers have catapulted. The legendary Charles Dutton and Bill Duke even made an appearance.
24 years later, Menace II Society is still a pop culture phenomenon. It does not matter how many times you see Menace II Society, you still think that there is some hope for Caine. You wish that he wouldn't have been playing around with O-Dog, or that he would've stayed in the house with Ronnie a little bit longer. You just wanted them to pack an hour earlier and head to Atlanta. Caine was trying to do better in life and Sharif was about to move to Kansas City. Everything was going in the right direction for those boys but karma caught up with them. Other lines such as, "You know you done fucked up, right?" is something that people still recite today. As soon as you hear it, it is an instant homage to Menace.
24 years later and Menace II Society is still revenant and it is a pop culture hit. The new generation is able to appreciate this film for what it is while also being able to learn from generations before us. Some of us are even noticing memorable faces that we see in more contemporary work. The beauty and cinematography of this film eloquently matches it's message. Here's to 24 more, 🎊.
original post - 5.26.17