Hollywood still has progress to make, says actor-rapper-producer Ice Cube.

“It ain’t cool enough yet,” the Straight Outta Compton filmmaker said Feb. 19. “I mean, it’s still got gatekeepers. It’s got gatekeepers everywhere. Cool people still have a hard time showing what they got in Hollywood. And I’ve been fighting my whole career to show a different side. But there’s not enough Ice Cubes out there. There’s not enough Ice Cubes getting a chance to do their thing.”

Coming off the back-to-back successes of Compton and Ride Along 2, he added: “I’m ready to run a studio. I’m ready to green light movies, and be in it to win it.” He said, however, he had no intention of raising money outside the industry. “Then what you’re doing is fighting with your money to get back into the industry, or for them to use your money instead of their own. So, you got to figure out how to do it within the flow of the industry.”

Cube, who noted he won’t be attending the Feb. 28 Oscars, was speaking at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film & TV, where he took part in the ongoing Hollywood Masters interview series.

He described working on Compton when Suge Knight allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run that resulted in a man’s death. “I didn’t see it,” he said. “It was at another location. He had came to base camp first and then went to the other location. And then, we ended up leaving, and I heard about it on the freeway… I was just trying to make sense of it, trying to figure out who got hurt, who got hit, what was the facts? It was just fact checking. And, you know, I still didn’t believe what had happened. I just couldn’t believe that the day had started off so cool and somebody was dead.”

Cube also defended the recent, political symbolism of Beyoncé, especially in her Super Bowl appearance. “You’re starting to see people wanting, and artists starting to go back to having socially conscious flavor in their music, which is fine, which is cool,” he said. “You know, everybody’s giving Beyoncé a lot of shit, but she’s black. Who else is she supposed to represent?”

He recalled another black superstar, his friend Tupac Shakur. “Tupac, he was a cool dude. I met Tupac, he was still in Digital Underground. And he was just one of those dudes who’s always having fun. Bouncing off the walls. He was a kid in a candy store… [But] bad stuff kept following him. That's kind of how he felt. But deep down inside, he was a real just a fun dude.”

Asked where he was when Shakur was killed, he said: “I was at home. Me and my wife turned on the news in the morning and saw it, ’cause we had just watched the fight and we turned everything off and was into something totally different. And then the next morning, we was like, ‘Whoa. Tupac got shot at the fight.’ And it was just crazy. You know, I hear about people getting shot all the time. But most of the guys you hear about getting shot pulled through. You hear about them, like yo, but I thought he was going to do the same thing. So it was crazy that it didn’t happen.”


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