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Saturday , October 19 2019

‘Boyz n the Hood’ director John Singleton dies at age of 51

John Singleton

‘Brave artist and a true inspiration’

LOS ANGELES, April 30, (Agencies): John Singleton, writer-director of “Boyz n the Hood” and industry pioneer, who was the first African American to earn an Oscar nomination for best director, has died. He was 51.

Singleton suffered a stroke after experiencing weakness in his legs, and was admitted to the hospital on April 17. He was taken off life support Monday and died a few hours later at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

His family issued a statement, saying: “We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died. John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends. We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.” – The Singleton Family.

He grew up in South-Central Los Angeles, which became the setting for much of his work as a writer and director. He attended USC film school and turned his student thesis into the screenplay for 1991’s landmark “Boyz n the Hood”.

Fresh out of college with no credits under his belt, Singleton boldly insisted he direct the movie when Columbia Pictures approached him about optioning the “Boyz” screenplay. “I wasn’t going to have somebody from Idaho or Encino direct this movie,” he recounted at a 25th anniversary screening.

Earned

“Boyz n the Hood” starred Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr, in a raw look at life for African-American youths in communities torn apart by drugs and violence. The movie earned Oscar nominations for Singleton for original screenplay and for directing. In addition to being the first black director to land an Academy Award nom, he was also the youngest person to nab a directing mention, at the age of 24.

Roger Ebert wrote on its release, “By the end of ‘Boyz n the Hood’, I realized I had seen not simply a brilliant directorial debut, but an American film of enormous importance.”

He then moved into music videos, directing Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” with Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson.

Singleton went on to direct such films as “Poetic Justice” (1993), “Higher Learning” (1995), a remake of “Shaft” (2000) and the second installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, 2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious”.

Singleton, who had said he was profoundly affected by the death of Tupac Shakur, had signed on to direct the “All Eyez on Me” Tupac biopic, but left the project due to creative differences.

He was vocal about Hollywood’s poor track record in recruiting black filmmakers to tell black stories. At a Hollywood Masters talk at Loyola Marymount University, Singleton said, “If you’re doing a story that is African-American-themed, you have to have black people on that can give you advice that are not insecure – they are not just there to show their damn face. That actually can challenge and listen and say, ‘Maybe you should think about this,’ in the development process. That kind of thing.”

“Thank you John for being my friend, brother and mentor for 30 years. For believing in me when I was unsure of myself. Your passion for telling our stories from our point of view was more than an obsession, it was your mission in life. Your love for the black experience was contagious and I would never be the man I am without knowing you. On April 29, 1992 you were on TV warning the world what was to come. I’m sad today, cause on this April 29th who will warn the world what’s to come. I love you and I miss you already brother.” – Rapper Ice Cube, in a statement.

“RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.” – Jordan Peele via Twitter.

“You gave me my first movie role, my first Oscar nomination and so much more. Thank you for all you have given to the world through your work and all you have done for Black culture, women and young filmmakers. I will miss you John. Keeping your family in my prayers.” – “Poetic Justice” star, pop star Janet Jackson, via Instagram.

“Thank you for all that you gave to the world the movies the messages the opportunities to so many people like myself to grace the big screen in a major role with major black actors you were and will allways be black excellence love you for life and beyond.” – Snoop Dogg, via Instagram.

“#johnsingleton Needless to say we go way, way back … There are no words to convey the absolute loss and sadness I feel right now. John was there for his fellow filmmakers, always. All we had to do was look up and he would be there smiling and applauding our efforts.” – Filmmaker Julie Dash, via Twitter.

“He was early in the game and he broke through and because of him a lot of good stuff is happening today.” – Filmmaker John Waters, at the 50th anniversary gala of Film at Lincoln Center.

“It’s very tragic. I feel a big loss. Somebody innovative, incredible energy. We need our energized people, filmmakers, artists, and he was an important one.” – Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, at the 50th anniversary gala of Film at Lincoln Center

“RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.” – Jordan Peele via Twitter.

Singleton is survived by five children.

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