Trailblazing Innovative “Boys n The Hood” Director John Singleton Dies Following Stroke Complications

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[FILM ENTERTAINMENT NEWS]
PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

John Singleton: Innovative pioneering filmmaker and director

John Singleton, the trailblazing innovative director of classic films like “Boys n the Hood,” and “Higher Learning” has passed away following complications from a stroke. He was 51.

Singleton was the first African-American director—and the youngest person, at 24—to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for the classic 1991 film “Boys in The Hood. It was Singleton’s first film. Singleton also showed his versatility on such films as “Poetic Justice” (1993), “Higher Learning” (1995), “Rosewood” (1997) and “Baby Boy” (2001).

Singleton’s family released a statement confirming the passing of the pioneering director, screenwriter and film producer.

The family statement reads: "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 to thank all of John's fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grieved Singleton’s loss as the "youngest-ever Best Director nominee and an inspiration to us all."

Singleton’s passing comes weeks after he suffered a stroke on April 17. Reportedly, he had complained after coming back from a recent trip to Costa Rica that he had been experiencing weakness in his legs. He had fallen into a coma by April 25. On April 29, he was taken off life support.

The death of Singleton, a multitalented director and screenwriter is a major loss for Black America’s arts. Singleton’s work helped create a space for many other up-and-coming Black actors and entertainers like: Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Nia Long, Taraji Henson, Morris Chestnut, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris to name a few. Singleton has worked with other heavyweight African-American actors like: Samuel Jackson, Laurence Fishbourne, Richard Rountree, Angela Bassett, Omar Epps, Ving Rhames, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, and Janet Jackson.

Although Singleton was well respected in Hollywood, he was also very critical about the way things work there.

In March 2014, Singleton made the following critique of how Hollywood relates to movies about Black Americans. “They ain't letting the Black people tell the stories. They want Black people [to be] what they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want Black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The Black films now—so-called Black films now—they're great. They're great films. But they're just product. They're not moving the bar forward creatively. ...When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special."

Several actors and Hollywood insiders have commented on Singleton’s passing.

Ice Cube, who made his film debut in “Boys n the Hood,” tweeted “I was discovered by a master filmmaker by the name of John Singleton. He not only made me a movie star but made me a filmmaker. There are no words to express how sad I am to lose my brother, friend & mentor. He loved bring the Black experience to the world.” Cube credits Singleton with encouraging him to write screenplays when he told him “"If you can write a record, you can write a movie." That encouragement led Cube to write his first screenplay for the movie Friday (1995).

Janet Jackson, who along with Tupac Shakur, starred in “Poetic Justice,” tweeted ““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.”

Samuel L. Jackson, who worked with Singleton on Shaft (2000), tweeted “Mourning the loss of a collaborator & True Friend John Singleton. He blazed the trail for many young film makers.” always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!! RIP Brother. Gone Way Too Soon!”

Regina King, who starred in “Boys n the Hood,” “Poetic Justice” and “Higher Learning” tweeted “Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton. Having trouble finding enough words to share just…”

Angela Bassett, who starred in “Boys n the Hood,” tweeted that she met Singleton “as a recently graduated first time writer/director embarking on his nascent film career. I will forever remember him fondly from our first meeting during the audition.”

Rapper Ludacris, who acted in “Too Fast, Too Furious” (2003), tweeted “I honestly can’t even find the words right now. This one Hurts Bad. Signing off social media for while.”

Tribe Called Quest rapper Q Tip, who performed in “Poetic Justice,” tweeted “Deeply saddened by this news... a great friend to me... he pushed me into acting and gave me my first role... always was in my corner... i cant express how much this hurts.”

Oscar winning filmmaker Jordan Peele tweeted “RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything."

Singleton’s agents at ICM Partners, a talent and literary agency, noted that Singleton has "left an indelible mark on the world through his masterful artistry and uncompromising humanity. He was a visionary filmmaker and social commentator who created a path for a new generation of filmmaker, many of whom he mentored, in a way they never saw possible. His films and the incredible influence they had will be studied forever."

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