In the 25 years since New Jack City has been made, the film has inspired waves of future filmmakers. Elements of it have been emulated, replicated and in some cases straight up copied more times than one can count. Shows like The Corner and The Wire used inspiration and elements from New Jack City, but found a different way to make it theirs. New Jack City was relatable to so many people because the crack epidemic was everywhere with families growing up, living in or trying to just maintain in an area plagued by drugs, violence and gang activity. Set in 1986, New Jack City highlighted the dark cloud of substance abuse hanging over the black community. Children were being born addicted to crack, showcasing serious developmental issues which gave birth to the term “crack babies. That phrasing referred to not only children with poor impulse control and impaired communication skills, but also young people that grew up in a super violent environment driven by hypercapitalism.
So many people had been living the life for years, as New Jack City captured it all on the silver screen in a way that many who lived outside of the crack epidemic had never seen before. With all the players in front and behind the camera putting in dutiful work, New Jack City is timeless art that many viewers should revisit again and again. It still holds up after two-plus decades and resonates with audiences. If you haven’t seen New Jack City, cancel your plans, watch this film and rock-a-bye to your innocence.
Dart Adams is Boston-based creative who has written for theSTASHED, NPR and Producers I Know. Follow his latest and greatest @Dart_Adams on Twitter.