Remembering John Singleton: His Movies, His Mission
Birth of Hip Hop was derived from the mission to showcase the creative aspects of young individuals. We do this, primarily on the platform through film, to express grandiose ideals that will touch the lives of many. It is in the doing this, that we give the upmost respect to the creators before us that has been pivotal to this journey. Filmmaker John Singleton was one of them, if not the first. He was an exceptional film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for the famous film “Boyz n the Hood.” With the success of that film, Singleton became the first African American and youngest person to ever be nominated for an Academy award, at age 24.
Singleton worked in all film genres, being behind the lens of major films such as “Baby Boy”, featuring singer Tyrese Gibson and actress Taraji P. Henson; the remake of “Shaft” with Samuel L. Jackson, and the “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the first sequel of the “Fast and Furious” franchise featuring the late actor Paul Walker in 2003.
Most recently, Singleton has been on the TV trail as both a director and producer for hit shows such as “Billions” and FOX tv’s Hip Hop hotness “Empire.”
Much about the theme of his films, Singleton has had a mission of relaying the stories of young people of color living in Southern California. He focused on the issues of poverty, racism, and police violence, which is ever present in our society today.
According to ABC News, “‘Boyz N the Hood’ was my first exposure to the inner city black experience,” said Ruth Hopkins, a Native American attorney and writer who lives in South Dakota. “I was surprised how much I could relate to the issues of poverty, racism and police violence.”
Boyz in the Hood, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr., rapper Ice Cube, with actors Morris Chestnut and Nia Long, which is loosely based on the experiences of Singleton growing up in that area. The movie focused on minority communities and the cultural realities of what takes place then and even now.
Former President Barack Obama praised Singleton and the opportunities he created for others. “His seminal work, Boyz n the Hood, remains one of the most searing, loving portrayals of the challenges facing inner-city youth,” Obama tweeted. “He opened doors for filmmakers of color to tell powerful stories that have been too often ignored.”
We send our hearts, love, and praise to John Singleton and his entire family. We thank you for your leadership, creative genius, and innovation. You have inspired our future black filmmakers and we will be sure to continue your work.