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.”
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… https://t.co/SlQGwDEHU7
— Regina King (@ReginaKing) April 29, 2019
“Shaft” star Samuel L. Jackson remembered his “collaborator and true friend.”
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!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) April 29, 2019
Other celebrities shared their reactions to the director’s death.
RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) April 29, 2019
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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.
There aren’t many of us out here doing this. It’s a small tribe in the grand scheme of things. He was a giant among us. Kind. Committed. And immensely talented. His films broke ground. His films mattered. He will be missed. And long remembered. Thank you, John. #RunIntoHisArms pic.twitter.com/wKfOaCGFuA
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 29, 2019
John Singleton was a talented director and a kind man. He died too young. He will be missed.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) April 29, 2019
John Singleton lived every minute of his 51 years. I’m going to miss laughing, talking movies, watching movies, making movies with this amazing human being. Love you buddy. Condolences to Justice and his whole family. pic.twitter.com/lkTIZGbHfU
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) April 29, 2019
R.I.P John Singleton thank you for helpling me if It wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be a Academy award Winner I gonna miss you bro I love you my prayers for your family we will never forget! YOU ARE LEGENDARY 🙏🏿
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) April 29, 2019
RIP John Singleton.
Singleton was the first black filmmaker ever nominated for Best Director and remains the youngest ever nominee – he was only 23 years old while making BOYZ N THE HOOD.
Thank you for the powerful stories you shared with us, John – you will be dearly missed. pic.twitter.com/FhCLOLoAPC
— The Black List (@theblcklst) April 29, 2019
My prayers go out today to John Singleton and his family. May God bless the young cinematic king who gave us images that will stay with us forever.🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/tohsQTUPbj
— Robert Townsend (@Robert_Townsend) April 29, 2019
This one cuts deep. You’ll never be forgotten. Cause your work will live on. pic.twitter.com/bqCV8RTyc8
— Lena Waithe (@LenaWaithe) April 29, 2019
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) April 29, 2019
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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 🙏🏾
Today teaches us anew that nothing is promised. Not long life. Not another second. If there is something in your ❤️ to do, do it! Something to say, say it! Build a bridge. Burn one down. Stand up. Walk away. Whatever is calling to you, heed it NOW! Time waits for no one! #Live
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) April 29, 2019
Rest up John Singleton. We never met, but Remember The Time literally changed my life. Thank you so much. God Bless you
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 29, 2019
Thank you John Singleton. We will make you proud. 😢 pic.twitter.com/XxqRlcxDEZ
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) April 29, 2019
Stars in the universe that burn the brightest, live shorter lives than others. And with their high-energy light, they transform all that basks in their luminosity. Farewell John Singleton (1968-2019).
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 29, 2019
The best life is when we leave a trail. We leave something on this earth bigger than us. John Singleton….you inspired a generation of Artists. We will shoulder on….'May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". RIP
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) April 29, 2019
RIP John Singleton. He was the first African American AND the youngest person to ever be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. Incredible talent. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/dCwwPvhjWB
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) April 29, 2019