Ice Cube turns to Cuba Gooding Jr. for emotional guidance in Boyz N The Hood

Exploring the intense acting journey of Ice Cube in his breakthrough role
66th GRAMMY Awards - Special Merit Awards Ceremony & 66th Annual GRAMMY Nominees Reception
66th GRAMMY Awards - Special Merit Awards Ceremony & 66th Annual GRAMMY Nominees Reception / Emma McIntyre/GettyImages

In the gritty urban landscape of South Central Los Angeles, where violence and hardship are everyday realities, two stars collided on the set of John Singleton’s iconic film, “Boyz N The Hood.” Ice Cube, known for his powerful lyrics as a rapper, and Cuba Gooding Jr., a rising actor, shared a poignant moment that would forever impact the emotional depth of the movie.

The struggle to shed tears

Ice Cube, portraying the character Doughboy, faced a pivotal scene where he had to convey raw grief. His brother Ricky had been killed, leaving him with only one sibling left. But tapping into those emotions proved challenging for the rapper-turned-actor. That’s when he turned to Cuba Gooding Jr., who played his childhood friend in the film.

In an exclusive interview with Patrick Bet-David on the PBD Podcast, Gooding Jr. recounted the moment:

"He knocked on my trailer. He sat in there and said, ‘I can’t do this crying shit. I’m not built like that.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ Now I’m his acting coach. I got Ice Cube asking me for help because he’s got to cry in this scene."

Gooding Jr.'s advice to Cube was both practical and profound:

"Cube, the only advice I can give you is, if you’re trying to cry, you’re gonna look stupid. Just say whatever you feel when you think about the homies you lost."

Cube took those words to heart and walked out, ready to face the emotional challenge.

The magic of authenticity

When the cameras rolled, something magical happened. Ice Cube didn’t shed visible tears, but the grief was etched on his face. Gooding Jr. explained,

"It was magic for these two kids who connected because now he wasn’t scared. It doesn’t matter if he cries because he’s not supposed to cry. The grief is in his face."

The authenticity of that moment resonated with audiences worldwide. “Boyz N The Hood” became a cultural touchstone, shedding light on the struggles faced by young Black men in marginalized neighborhoods. Ice Cube’s vulnerability and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s guidance added layers of emotional complexity to the film.

A legacy that endures

Decades later, “Boyz N The Hood” remains a powerful testament to the talent of its ensemble cast. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Regina King, both future Oscar winners, showcased their abilities alongside Ice Cube. And while the film tackled tough issues, it also celebrated the bonds of friendship and family.

So next time you watch “Boyz N The Hood,” remember the quiet exchange between Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr. behind the scenes—a moment that transformed a movie into a timeless masterpiece.

Watch the full interview below