Limited lead female characters is an understatement with regard to this movie. The only part of the movie where there were a lot of females was during the scene where women were stuffing small packages of heroine. Traditionally the women have to be naked since there is the possibility they might steal some, but seriously, black nude females? Goodness knows we never see enough black women poorly represented in the media.
The female characters of this film were rendered powerless. The one incident where Eve (Lymari Nadal) spoke up against a man, she was immediately slapped in the face. She cowered with fear and was not able to defend herself. Mama Lucas (Ruby Dee), the mother of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), never asked her son how he had enough money to afford to buy her a house clear out of the blue. She was portrayed as being completely naive throughout the film. Towards the end of the movie she confronted her son about his gangster activities. After he lied to her she slapped him in the face for it. She said that she did not like to be lied to. The wife and mother of this film were both written as mentally and physically powerless in the face of male goals. What was the message of the movie? If a woman was in the way of what a man wants, then who is she to stand in a his way?