By Spencer Feingold
Hollywood and the country at large continue to mourn the death of the acclaimed director John Singleton who died Monday, two weeks after suffering a sudden stroke. Singleton was just 51 years old.
Singleton is best known for writing and directing the 1991 drama “Boyz n the Hood,” a film that introduced the world to South Central Los Angeles. At age 24, Singleton became the youngest person and the first African American ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.
“Before John Singleton and 'Boyz n the Hood,' a lot of the prevailing narrative was that for a black film to be successful, it has to appeal to white audiences,” Michael Harriot, a columnist at The Root, told Cheddar Tuesday. “He proved that didn’t necessarily have to be true.”
Singleton went on to direct blockbusters such as “Poetic Justice,” “2 Fast 2 Furious,” and “Four Brothers.” He also produced major films like “Black Snake Moan” and “Hustle & Flow.”
“He was responsible for bringing many of the stories to light that we take for granted now,” Harriot said. “It wasn’t just black directors that he had an impact on but the movie industry as a whole.”
A Los Angeles native, Singleton focused many of his projects on cultural and political issues in the city.
Most recently, he created the FX series “Snowfall,” which chronicles LA’s crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. Singleton also was the executive producer for the 2017 documentary “L.A. BURNING: The Riots 25 Years Later.”
Following the news of his death, Hollywood stars and cultural figure came out in droves to pay tribute to Singleton and honor his legacy.
“So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything,” the actor and director Jordan Peele tweeted.
Samuel L. Jackson said Singleton “blazed the trail for many young filmmakers, always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!!”
Singleton is also credited with launching the careers of several black Hollywood A-listers such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Regina King, and “Boyz n the Hood” star Ice Cube.
“He is the cream of the crop as far as black people go in cinema. It is a tragedy, and he is an icon that will be truly missed,” O'Shea Jackson Jr., an actor and the eldest son of Ice Cube, told Cheddar.
The NAACP also honored Singleton, saying in a statement that he “was a great director and storyteller who was never afraid to show African Americans in complex, multi-dimensional roles. We hope that his legacy will inspire a new generation of filmmakers to turn a positive and progressive lens toward minorities in this country."
For full interview click here.