"Upcoming John Singleton Movie Shoots Oakland Scene"

by Yasmin Anwar, Oakland Tribune, approx. June 1992

Hollywood swept into "the best block" of West Oakland's Filbert Street yesterday as "Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton and his entourage shot scenes for his upcoming street love story "Poetic Justice."

Curious neighbors and autograph hunters flocked to Alfred and Dawn Whittington's yellow Victorian house — where scenes are being shot — to catch glimpses of the movie's stars, Janet Jackson and Oakland rapper Tupac Shakur.

"Movies don't happen too much in Oakland. so it's great for the kids to see this," said carpenter Carlo Marzette.

The Columbia Pictures film, directed by the popular 24-year-old black director, traces a relationship between a poetic hairdresser called Justice (Janet Jackson) and her listless postal worker boyfriend Lucky (Tupac Shakur).

The two flee from South-Central Los Angeles to relatives in Oakland. Yesterday's shots will result in a four-minute scene in which Lucky's aunt and uncle mourn the death of their son, who is shot at the junction of Filbert and 18th Street.

"It's a depressing scene," said Dawn Whittington, whose kitchen starred in yesterday's shots.

Several disappointed youths, hanging across the street, lamented the absence of superstar Janet Jackson.

Jamala Rahim, 14, said she was bummed out that Jackson was not there, but that she could not imagine the famous singer hanging out with the kids on the street.

Despite Jackson's no-show, rap fans clustered around Shakur, a member of Digital Underground who starred in the movie "Juice."

"Tupac is cool," said 10-year-old Alonzo Ward, who will be an extra in a night shooting later this week.

Police, trucks and movie equipment jammed the film set junction, as movie people commandeered the area, spurring some neighbors to complain about the parking problems.

"They're nice enough folks, but they should compensate us for using up all these parking spaces. There's a lot of disabled people around here," said neighbor Edward Thomas.

Thomas said his neighborhood of quaint Victorians and neat lawns is the most picturesque section of Filbert Street, which turns into rundown and drug-infested areas.

Film production officials selected the Whittingtons' house several months back after scouting West Oakland properties.

The Whittingtons, both postal workers, were offered a substantial sum for two-days' use of their home.

Dawn Whittington speculated that the high ceilings and hardwood floors in her two-bedroom Victorian attracted the filmmakers.

But Rahim, who lives down the block from the Whittingtons, said she was not impressed with the production scouts' choice.

"There's better houses on the block than this one," she said.

©1992 Oakland Tribune

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