Great Moments In Colored Cinema: 21 Jump Street

From gangsta rapper to gangsta actor to much-loved gangsta comedian, Ice Cube has seen his career continuously evolve in accordance with the way the game has changed. In doing so, he has been able to keep his name as relevant today as it was when he had a good day.

And while Ice Cube has played a doughboy, a burnout, a barber, a super-duper college senior and even a secret agent, watching Ice Cube assert himself as the cliché-angry-no-non-sense-strict police Captain Dickson in 21 Jump Street by simply stating, “Guess what muthaf*ckas? I’m black and I worked my ass off to be the captain! And sometimes I get angry, so suck a d!ck!” seemed like a role tailor made for his talents. Think about it. Ice Cube is a black man who grew up in the streets of Compton, which in turn made him angry (Jerry Heller can take some credit for that as well) and comes off as an authoritative figure because he’s a boss in his own right.



But it was more than just the stereotypical characteristics that a rapper and a black police captain share. It was the attitude, wittiness and the delivery that Ice put on display that helped sell his movie character. Through a threatening and stern as David demeanor, Captain Dickson (fitting name isn’t it?) came across twice as charismatic and comedic, and often stole the spotlight whenever he shared screen time with the two main stars of the movie. His back-and-forth with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum alone is enough to prove my point. It was hilarious and actually reminded me of the back-and-forth between Rozwill Young and Ed Lover & Doctor Dre in the hood classic, Who’s The Man? (it was a mediocre movie at best, but it featured more guest appearances from rappers than HBO’s Oz, so it was a classic to us… as was Oz… for all the wrong reasons).

In the end Ice Cube showed the world how to do it. How to gangsta rap, how to gangsta act, and now he’s showing us how a black police captain could and should act.

Nah, he isn’t getting any Academy Award or Oscar nominations anytime soon for his role as Captain Dickson (don’t rule out a BET or MTV Movie Award though,) but the man born O’Shea Jackson is someone to be appreciated for his many talents and for blessing the masses with countless hours of entertainment both in music and in movies. 

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