Higher Learning

 “You gotta get that `We are the world’ crap outta your head. ‘Cause it ain’t gonna happen on this campus.” – Fudge (Ice Cube)

“Higher Learning” is Singleton’s third film, after the great “Boyz N the Hood” (1991) and the more meandering, romantic “Poetic Justice” (1993). Singleton himself, at 26, is only a few years out of USC, and his film is at home on the campus.

Looking through the eyes of the incoming freshmen, we go through the process of moving in, meeting roommates, taking the first classes, and socializing.

“… on the fictitious campus of Columbus University, where almost every conceivable racial, cultural and gender group seems represented,” – Washingtonpost.com


(Omar Epps),


(Michael Rapaport).


(Regina King)


(Kristy Swanson)


(Ice Cube)

Professor Phipps

(Laurence Fishburne)

Scott Moss

(Cole Hauser)

Adam Goldberg

(David Isaacs)


(Busta Rhyme)


(Tyra Banks)

“Into this sanctuary of self-enforced apartheid comes a new freshman class… They are here, allegedly, to learn, but most of their most important lessons will be taught by the campus itself.” – RogerEbert.com

These 4 enter as freshmen, eager to learn. With a set of ideas already in their heads. Most of the learning is happening outside of the classroom, Lessons learned are not academic in nature, but more moral, an attempt to understand the world they are about to enter.

“[U]napologetically confrontational film that uses a fictional campus, Columbus University, to represent the racial and sexual powder keg of America.” – Rollingstone.com

They attend “Columbus University” and this name is not coincidental. It speaks to the world that they live in. And the name of the university is a proper introduction to what you should expect. After all, this is a university, a place of learning and in the Americas, so it is proper the lessons learned to apply more to life in America.

“Higher Learning is often clichéd, unfocused and didactic. But Singleton has a goal most of his contemporaries have given up on: He wants to make a movie that makes a difference.” – Rollingstone.com

All of these groups with all of their agendas are headed for a collision. Singleton does a good job of cutting back and forth between many stories; this is not a “black movie” but sees the whole campus population as its subject.

“There are enough little lectures to warrant course credit before the film is over.” – NYTimes.com

This movie is interesting because it places you in a time, the 1990’s, years removed from jim crow, the begging or cusp of the information age, and place, where people are typically beginning to evaluate who they are and who they want to become, it shows how the world may look at, in a world (Columbia) where you are identified by your gender and race, and lessons are learned how to maneuver this complex place

Written by 

The Armani.

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