Monday brought the shocking news of the passing of legendary filmmaker John Singleton. In 1992, at the age of just 24, Singleton became the youngest person and first African-American to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. The film that nabbed him the honor was, of course, his breakthrough directorial debut Boyz N the Hood. The film helped launch the acting careers of Ice Cube and future Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr.
On Monday, two weeks after suffering a major stroke, Singleton was taken off life support at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In the wake of the sad news, many of Singleton’s former collaborators took a moment to commemorate the late icon.
“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,” Ice Cube wrote. The former gangster rapper made his big screen debut as Darrin “Doubghboy” Baker in Boyz N the Hood. The role helped open the doors to what has since become a prolific on-screen career for Cube, which has included cult classics like Friday and even family comedy’s like Are We There Yet?
“You gave me my first movie role, my first Oscar nomination and so much more,” Janet Jackson wrote on Instagram. “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.” Jackson starred alongside the late Tupac Shakur in Singleton’s second film Poetic Justice. Her song for the film “Again” was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
“I can’t express how much this hurts,” the rapper Q Tip wrote.
Samuel Jackson who starred in Singleton’s 2000 remake of the blaxploitation film Shaft remembered the filmmaker as “always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!!”
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I met @johnsingleton 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 process. He exuded many things that day… awareness, openness and above all-enthusiasm! Over the years he never lost or left any of that behind. He provided and possessed a clarity of vision that I appreciate from that day till this. He gave a voice and an opportunity to many. Count me in that grateful number.
Angela Bassett, who also starred in Boyz N the Hood, dedicated a touching Instagram post to Singleton. “He gave a voice and an opportunity to many. Count me in that grateful number.”