Tributes have been pouring in for John Singleton, the trailblazing filmmaker who died Monday, at the young age of 51, following a massive stroke. Actors who worked with him — including Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, and Regina King — mourned his loss, as did colleagues and fans who praised him for opening doors with, among others, his classic 1991 debut Boyz n the Hood.
Now no less than Barack Obama has weighed in. The 44th president took to Twitter Tuesday, the day after Singleton’s passing, to pay tribute to a filmmaker who left us too soon.
“His seminal work, Boyz n the Hood, remains one of the most searing, loving portrayals of the challenges facing inner-city youth,” wrote Obama. “He opened doors for filmmakers of color to tell powerful stories that have been too often ignored.”
Obama echoed a trend amongst the Singleton tributes, namely that he helped portions of the country who were underrepresented portrayed on movie screens.
Indeed, Boyz n the Hood — about young people, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Nia Long among them, trying to get by in the low-income, violent South Central section of Los Angeles — was not only a hit film, it turned Singleton into the first African-American filmmaker nominated for the Best Director Oscar, as well as the youngest. When Singleton made it, he was all of 24 years old.