Fresh: An Overlooked Ode to Hip-Hop and Life in the Hood

The 1990s was an era in American films that was chock full of so-called “classic hood films.”

In 1991, the releases of John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood and Mario Van Peebles’ New Jack City showcased the raw grit and danger on the urban streets of two of America’s biggest cities: New York City, New York and Los Angeles, California.

In 1992, the cinematic depiction of life in America’s predominantly black urban communities was back on display with the releases of Ernest R. Dickerson’s Juice (starring Tupac Shakur) and Stephen Milburn Anderson’s South Central.

Legendary producer Oliver Stone’s South Central was unique in the sense that it was based on a legendary non-fiction book titled Crips, which was written by author Donald Bakeer. The scenes in this cult classic were derived from actual street gang experiences.

1993’s Menace II Society was also a legitimate classic film about street life that provided an entertaining but graphic depiction of what really goes down in an environment that is not always “all good in the hood.”

However, in 1994, another unsung classic hood film directed by Boaz Yakin was released called Fresh. Produced by Lawrence Bender (founder of Lawrence Bender Productions), Fresh is another harrowing narrative about the adversities of the so-called “ghetto.”

Starring Sean Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, and N’Bushe Wright, Fresh tells the story of a 12-year-old boy (played by Nelson) who is already involved in a life of crime. The boy uses the master chess lessons of his father (played by Jackson) to guide him.

However, the boy’s family is riddled with the same drug and alcohol addiction that is plaguing the people who are affected by the profitable poison he’s peddling for a local crime lord (played by Giancarlo Esposito).

Fresh was the second 1994 film starred in by the great Samuel L. Jackson, which was produced by Lawrence Bender. It was critically acclaimed and won the Filmaker’s Trophy at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival.

Bender’s company, Lawrence Bender Productions, is located in Beverly Hills, California at 8530 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 520. You can purchase Fresh online at right here.


Leave a Reply