Hollywood is reeling after news broke on Monday that John Singleton has died at the age of 51. The Oscar-nominated director of “Boyz n the Hood” and “Shaft” suffered a debilitating stroke two weeks ago.
On social media, filmmakers and actors such as Jordan Peele, Regina King, and Robert Townsend responded to reports that Singleton had died, praising the director’s work and reflecting on his many kindnesses. His career took off with “Boyz N the Hood,” a drama set in South Central L.A. that received critical raves and was a major commercial success. Singleton became the first African American and youngest person to ever be nominated for best director, earning his invite to the Oscars at age 24.
Singleton joined the Directors Guild of America in 1990, served three terms as a member of the Western Directors Council and was the co-chair of the African American Steering Committee. DGA president Thomas Schlamme released a statement following Singleton’s death.
“John didn’t just make his feature film debut in 1991 with ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ he exploded into Hollywood, our culture and our consciousness with such a powerful cinematic depiction of life in the inner city. The groundbreaking film would go on to make him the youngest person and the first African American ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. For the next three decades, John’s career as a film director flourished with such culturally resonant films ranging from ‘Poetic Justice’ and ‘Rosewood’ to ‘Shaft’ and ‘2 Fast 2 Furious.’ His expansion into television was no less powerful, with his direction of ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson’ earning him a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Dramatic Series in 2016. I was so fortunate to be a collaborator with John on the show ‘Snowfall,’ and witnessed first-hand the enormous impact he had on so many.”
“Despite such a busy and successful career, John prioritized his service at the Guild on the Western Directors Council, as former co-chair of the African-American Steering Committee, and as an alternate on our National Board – showing up to support his fellow members every chance that he got. Our hearts are heavier today at the DGA, as we mourn this tremendous loss.”
Regina King, who worked with Singleton on “Boyz n The Hood,” “Higher Power” and “Poetic Justice,” said he was “one of the greatest to ever do it.”
“Shaft” star Samuel L. Jackson remembered his “collaborator and true friend.”
Other celebrities shared their reactions to the director’s death.
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I Will Forever Miss My Brother John Singleton. We Met While He Was A Film Student At USC. Over Many Years People Have Told Me “I’m Going To Be A Filmmaker”, When John Said That To Me The 1st Time We Met, I Believed Him Right Away. It Was No Surprise. With His Passion, His Heart, The Way He Talked About His Love For Cinema And Black Folks I Could See John Would Make It Happen, And He Did. From Day One, We Have Remained Close Over The Decades, Cheering Each Other On In This Industry That Is Not Set Up For Us To Win. John Singleton’s Films Will Live On Forever. Blessings And Prayers For His Family. May John Rest In Power. Amen.
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Like many of us when I heard the news I wished it wasn't true. John is a true visionary and social leader. Through his arts he shared many of our truths, and I can honestly say without his works I may have not been given the chance to express myself in this industry. I’m posting this not in his memory but to speak positive energy around his spirit. So we can have more time with him and his soul 🙏🏾