Twenty years ago today, first-time director John Singleton‘s seminal film, Boyz N the Hood, hit theaters. A gritty depiction of life in the streets of South Central, Los Angeles, the film opened mainstream America’s eyes to the plight of young African Americans in impoverished neighborhoods. Furthermore, the movie introduced viewers to the acting talents of future all-star performers including Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., Angela Bassett, Nia Long and the on-screen debut of Ice Cube. At just 22 years old at the time, Singleton made history as the youngest person to ever receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. BlackEnterprise.com sat down with the trailblazer to speak about the film’s debut and breakthrough.