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John Daniel Singleton (January 6, 1968 April 28, 2019) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He was best known for writing and directing ''
Boyz n the Hood ''Boyz n the Hood'' is a 1991 American coming-of-age story, coming-of-age hood film, hood drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by John Singleton in his List of directorial debuts, feature directorial debut. It stars Ice ...
'' in 1991, for which he was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Director The Academy Award for Best Director (officially known as the Academy Award of Merit for Directing) is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, ofte ...
, becoming, at age 24, the first
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
and youngest person to have ever been nominated for that award. Singleton was a native of
South Los Angeles South Los Angeles, formerly South Central Los Angeles, is an area in southern Los Angeles County, California, Los Angeles County (California), lying mostly within the city limits of Los Angeles, south of Downtown Los Angeles, downtown. It is "defin ...
, and many of his films, such as ''
Poetic Justice Poetic justice is a literary device A narrative technique (known for literary fiction Literary fiction is a controversial label that, in the book trade, refers to market novels which do not fit neatly into an established genre (see genre ficti ...
'' (1993), ''
Higher Learning ''Higher Learning'' is a 1995 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of ...

Higher Learning
'' (1995), and '' Baby Boy'' (2001), had themes which resonated with the contemporary urban population. He also directed the drama ''
Rosewood Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant wit ...
'' (1997) and the action films ''
Shaft Shaft may refer to: Rotating machine elements * Shaft (mechanical engineering), a rotating machine element used to transmit power * Line shaft, a power transmission system * Drive shaft, a shaft for transferring torque * Axle, a shaft around whic ...
'' (2000), ''
2 Fast 2 Furious ''2 Fast 2 Furious'' is a 2003 action film directed by John Singleton and written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. A standalone sequel to ''The Fast and the Furious (2001 film), The Fast and the Furious'' (2001), it is the second installment ...
'' (2003), and '' Four Brothers'' (2005). He the television crime drama ''
Snowfall Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes. It consists of frozen crystalline water throughout ...
''. He was nominated for the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special This is a list of the winners and nominees of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Chronology of category names Over the years, the scope of this award has evolved and the name with which ...
for "The Race Card", the fifth episode of '' The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story''.


Early life

John Singleton was born on January 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, the son of Shelia Ward-Johnson (later Morgan), a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and Danny Singleton, a real estate agent, mortgage broker, and financial planner. In a 1993 DIRT magazine interview with
Veronica Chambers Veronica Chambers is a contemporary and prolific author, journalist, novelist, essayist, teacher and magazine innovator.  An Afro-Latina who was born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, Chambers has been a top editor and writer for ''The Ne ...
, Singleton says of his childhood, "When I was growing up, comic books, video games and movies were my buffer against all the drugs, the partying and shit ..I never grew up with a whole lot of white people. I grew up in a black neighborhood." He attended
Eisenhower High SchoolEisenhower High School can refer to the following schools in the United States: * Eisenhower High School (Rialto, California) * Eisenhower High School (Blue Island, Illinois) * Eisenhower High School (Decatur, Illinois) * Eisenhower High School (Kan ...
, Blair High School,
Pasadena City College Pasadena City College (PCC) is a public community college A community college is a type of educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education Education is the process of f ...

Pasadena City College
and the
USC School of Cinematic Arts The University of Southern California ''The'' () is a grammatical Article (grammar), article in English language, English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, re ...
. He graduated from
USC USC most often refers to: * University of South Carolina The University of South Carolina (USC, U of SC, South Carolina, SC, or simply Carolina) is a Public university, public research university in Columbia, South Carolina. It has seven satel ...

USC
in 1990, and was a member of
Kappa Alpha Psi Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. () is a historically African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social ...
fraternity. Singleton considered pursuing
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of , , and . Computer science ...
, but enrolled in USC's Filmic Writing program under Margaret Mehring. The program was designed to take students directly into the Hollywood system as proficient writer/directors. He cited the
original ''Star Wars'' film Originality is the aspect of created or invented works as being new or novel, and thus replica, reproductions, clones, forgery, forgeries, or derivative works. An original work is one not received from others nor one copied from or based upon the ...
as one of his strongest influences and the work of
Steven Spielberg Steven Allan Spielberg (; born December 18, 1946) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He began his career in the New Hollywood New Hollywood, sometimes referred to as the American New Wave or the Hollywood Renaissance, r ...

Steven Spielberg
as a source of inspiration.


Career

John Singleton's film debut ''
Boyz n the Hood ''Boyz n the Hood'' is a 1991 American coming-of-age story, coming-of-age hood film, hood drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by John Singleton in his List of directorial debuts, feature directorial debut. It stars Ice ...
'' (1991), an inner city dramatization of his upbringings in South Central LA with characters loosely based on persons in his real life, including childhood best friends' Roman J. Artiste, aka "little Jimmy" (the real Ricky) and Michael Winters (the real Doughboy), starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.,
Angela Bassett Angela Evelyn Bassett (born August 16, 1958) is an American actress, director, producer, and activist. She is known for her biographical film roles, most notably her performance as Tina Turner Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 2 ...

Angela Bassett
,
Ice Cube O'Shea Jackson Sr. (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, and filmmaker. His lyrics on N.W.A N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop Hip hop or hip-hop ...

Ice Cube
, and
Laurence Fishburne Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961) is an American actor and producer. He has been critically hailed for his forceful, militant, and authoritative characters in his films. He is known for playing Morpheus Morpheus ('Fashioner' ...
, was both a critical and commercial success. It debuted at the
Cannes Film Festival The Cannes Festival (; french: link=no, Festival de Cannes), until 2003 called the International Film Festival (') and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presen ...

Cannes Film Festival
. For his efforts, Singleton received Academy Award nominations for
Best Original Screenplay The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry compr ...
and
Best DirectorBest Director is the name of an award which is presented by various film, television and theatre organizations, festivals, and people's awards. It may refer to: Film awards * AACTA Award for Best Direction * Academy Award for Best Director * BAFTA ...
. At age 24, he became the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director and the first African-American to be nominated for the award (four others
Lee Daniels Lee Daniels (born December 24, 1959) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His first producer credit was ''Monster's Ball'' (2001), with which he became the first African-American film producer to solely produce an Oscar-win ...
,
Barry Jenkins Barry Jenkins (born November 19, 1979) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and member of The Chopstars collective. After making his filmmaking debut with the short film ''My Josephine'', he received an Independent Spirit Award ...

Barry Jenkins
,
Jordan Peele Jordan Haworth Peele (born February 21, 1979) is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker. He is best known for his film and television work in the comedy and horror genres. Peele's breakout role came in 2003, when he was hired as a cast membe ...
, and
Spike Lee Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and professor. His production company, , has produced more than 35 films since 1983. He made his with ' (1986). He has since written ...

Spike Lee
have been nominated since). The film has since attained classic status, and in 2002, the United States
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the
National Film Registry The National Film Registry (or NFR for short) is the United States National Film Preservation Board The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contigu ...
. His directing ability led to the VFX-driven "
Remember the Time "Remember the Time" is a 1992 single by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "Honorific nicknames in popular mus ...
" music video for
Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter and dancer. Dubbed the " King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. Over a four-decade car ...

Michael Jackson
, which featured
Eddie Murphy Edward Regan Murphy (born April 3, 1961) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and singer. He rose to fame on the sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", common ...
, and
Magic Johnson Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is an American former professional basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court A cou ...

Magic Johnson
. His next films were ''
Poetic Justice Poetic justice is a literary device A narrative technique (known for literary fiction Literary fiction is a controversial label that, in the book trade, refers to market novels which do not fit neatly into an established genre (see genre ficti ...
'' (1993) and ''
Higher Learning ''Higher Learning'' is a 1995 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of ...

Higher Learning
'' (1995), which were similarly socially conscious and received mixed to positive reviews. Of his work with some of the 1990s' most visible rappers, Singleton states,
"I come from the same place as rappers. It's cool because it's just another form of communication. I have the same sensibilities as rappers. I'm not bourgeois and everything, thinking I'm better than folks. I see myself as the first filmmaker from the hip-hop generation. I've grown up with hip-hop music. The films I make have a hip-hop aesthetic. It may not have rap in it, but there's a whole culture and politics that go with the music. It's young, Black culture-that's what I deal with in my films."
The film ''
Rosewood Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant wit ...
'' (1997), Singleton's historical drama about racial violence, was entered into the
47th Berlin International Film Festival The 47th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 13 to 24 February 1997. The Golden Bear was awarded to Canadian-American film ''The People vs. Larry Flynt'' directed by Miloš Forman. The retrospective dedicated to Austrian film ...
, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear. Both this film and '' Baby Boy'' (2001) received predominantly positive reviews and helped establish Singleton's critical reputation. Additionally, his adaptation of ''
Shaft Shaft may refer to: Rotating machine elements * Shaft (mechanical engineering), a rotating machine element used to transmit power * Line shaft, a power transmission system * Drive shaft, a shaft for transferring torque * Axle, a shaft around whic ...
'' (2000), starring in the title role, was successful critically and commercially. John later turned to directing action films, such as ''
2 Fast 2 Furious ''2 Fast 2 Furious'' is a 2003 action film directed by John Singleton and written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. A standalone sequel to ''The Fast and the Furious (2001 film), The Fast and the Furious'' (2001), it is the second installment ...
'' (2003) and '' Four Brothers'' (2005), which received mixed reviews. In 2005, Singleton teamed with
Craig Brewer Craig Brewer (born December 6, 1971) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His 2005 movie ''Hustle & Flow'' won the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and achieved commercial success, along with an Academy Awar ...
and financed the
independent film An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film (motion picture or "movie") with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole ...
'' Hustle and Flow'', once it was clear that most other major backers would not clear it for release. In 2003, Singleton received a star at the
Hollywood Walk of Fame The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historic landmark which consists of more than 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of mar ...

Hollywood Walk of Fame
. It was announced in 2013 that Singleton was attached as the director of a
Tupac Shakur Tupac Amaru Shakur ( ; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971September 13, 1996), better known by his stage name 2Pac and later by his alias Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Considered one of the most influential rappers of all t ...
biography film. On April 3, 2015, Singleton reported that production was put on hold. Four days later, it was announced that following creative differences with
Morgan Creek Productions Morgan Creek Entertainment is an American film production company that has released box-office hits including '' Young Guns'', '' Dead Ringers'', '' Major League'', '' True Romance'', '' Ace Ventura: Pet Detective'', '' The Crush'', '' Robin Hoo ...
, Singleton had stepped down as director, and was replaced by
Carl Franklin Carl Franklin (born April 11, 1949) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, Film director, film and television director. Franklin is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and continued his education at the AFI Conservatory, where ...
. Singleton also stated he was planning on making a competing film about Tupac. After directing episodes of the critically acclaimed TV shows ''Empire'' and ''American Crime Story'', he served as an executive producer of the crime drama series ''
Rebel A rebel is a participant in a rebellion. Rebel or rebels may also refer to: People * Rebel (given name) * Rebel (surname) * Patriot (American Revolution), during the American Revolution * Johnny Reb, or Johnny Rebel, the national personification ...
'' for BET and co-created ''
Snowfall Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes. It consists of frozen crystalline water throughout ...
'' for FX.


Personal life

John Singleton was the father of eight children. With his former wife, Tosha Lewis, he had his first daughter Justice Maya Singleton (born 1992). John has a son named Maasai Singleton (born April 3, 1996) and a daughter named Cleopatra "Cleo" Singleton (born September 6, 1998) with ex-girlfriend Vestria Barlow. On October 12, 1996, Singleton married Ghanaian actress Akosua Gyamama Busia, the daughter of Ghana's second Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. The couple had a daughter named Hadar Busia-Singleton (born April 3, 1997), who appeared in ''
Tears of the Sun ''Tears of the Sun'' is a 2003 American action thriller film depicting a fictitious United States Navy SEALs, U.S. Navy SEAL team rescue mission amidst the Nigerian Civil War, civil war in Nigeria. Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) commands ...
'' (2003) and other films. Singleton and Busia divorced in June 1997. He had one daughter in 2010 with Mitzi Andrews, an actress/model and teacher based in Toronto, Canada. He also had a son, Seven, with Rayvon Jones. On August 23, 2007, Singleton was involved in an automobile accident in which he struck a
jaywalking Jaywalking is a term, originating in the United States, for pedestrian A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot The foot (plural: feet) is an anatomical Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology ...

jaywalking
pedestrian, Constance Russell, 57, of Los Angeles. Staying on the scene until the police arrived, Singleton was not under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and was released after being questioned. Russell died later in the hospital. The case was turned over to the District Attorney, but no charges were ever filed. On March 19, 2014, Singleton criticized popular studios for "refusing to let African-Americans direct black-themed films". John Singleton told an audience of students at
Loyola Marymount University Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a Private university, private Society of Jesus, Jesuit and Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Marymount research university in Los Angeles, California. It is located on the west side of the city, near ...
"They ain't letting the black people tell the stories." He also added, "They want black people o bewhat they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now—so-called black films now—they're great. They're great films. But they're just products. They're not moving the bar forward creatively. ...When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special."


Sexual harassment allegations

In November 2017, Danielle Young, a journalist for ''
The Root "The Root" is a song by American recording artist D'Angelo Michael Eugene Archer (born February 11, 1974), better known by his stage name D'Angelo (), is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is assoc ...
'' who had interviewed Singleton in June 2017, said he
sexually harassed Sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome and inappropriate promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions f ...
her after the interview and while taking a photo she posted on Instagram.


Illness, death and legacy

On April 17, 2019, Singleton suffered a
stroke A stroke is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Di ...

stroke
and was placed under intensive care. He reportedly began to experience weakness in his legs after returning to the United States from a trip to
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Amer ...

Costa Rica
. On April 25, it was reported that he was in a coma, but his daughter stated otherwise. On April 28, Singleton was removed from life support, and he died at the age of 51 at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is a nonprofit, tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the Period (geology), geologic period from 66 million to 2.6 million years ago. The period began with the demise of the non-bird ...
. Dozens of actors and musicians paid tribute to him. American rapper and actor
Ice Cube O'Shea Jackson Sr. (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, and filmmaker. His lyrics on N.W.A N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop Hip hop or hip-hop ...

Ice Cube
, who worked with Singleton in ''Boyz n the Hood'' and ''Higher Learning'', said: "There are no words to express how sad I am to lose my brother, friend & mentor. He loved bring the black experience to the world." Cuba Gooding Jr., who was given his first major role by Singleton in ''Boyz n the Hood'', paid tribute to his late friend by singing "One Day More" from ''
Les Misérables ''Les Misérables'' (, ) is a French historical novel Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can a ...
'', a favorite song of Singleton. A private funeral was held on May 6, 2019 in
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
, and John Singleton was buried at
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills is one of the six Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries, Forest Lawn cemeteries in Southern California. It is located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California 90068, in the Hollywood Hil ...
. The official cause of death was acute ischemic stroke,
intracerebral hemorrhage Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), also known as cerebral bleed, intraparenchymal bleed, and hemorrhagic stroke, or haemorrhagic stroke, is a sudden bleeding into the tissues of the brain, into its ventricles, or into both. It is one kind of bleed ...

intracerebral hemorrhage
, and
hypertension Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a Chronic condition, long-term Disease, medical condition in which the blood pressure in the artery, arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not ...

hypertension
.


Filmography


Film


Acting credits


Other credits


Television


Acting credits


Other credits


Music video

* ''
Remember the Time "Remember the Time" is a 1992 single by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "Honorific nicknames in popular mus ...
'' for
Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter and dancer. Dubbed the " King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. Over a four-decade car ...

Michael Jackson
(1992)


See also

* List of youngest Academy Award nominees


References


Further reading

* *Carr, Joi (March 2018
''Boyz n the hood: shifting Hollywood terrain''.
Peter Lang Publishing,Inc.
''The Real Boyz N The Hood - John D. Singleton (Tre), Michael Winters (Doughboy) and Roman J. Artiste (Ricky)''.


External links


Films of John Singleton
a critical fan site endorsed by Singleton. * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Singleton, John 1968 births 2019 deaths
20th-century American male writers {{CatAutoTOC 20th-century male writers, American 20th-century American writers, Male American male writers ...
20th-century American screenwriters 21st-century American male writers 21st-century American screenwriters African-American film directors African-American film producers
African-American male actors{{CatAutoTOC, numerals=no African-American actors, +Male African-American men, Actors American male actors by ethnic or national origin ...
African-American screenwriters African-American television producers American film producers American male film actors American male screenwriters American male television actors American male television writers American music video directors Blair High School (Pasadena, California) alumni Burials at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) Deaths from cerebrovascular disease Film directors from Los Angeles Film producers from California Male actors from California Male actors from Los Angeles Neurological disease deaths in California Pasadena City College alumni People from Los Angeles People from South Los Angeles Screenwriters from California Television producers from California USC School of Cinematic Arts alumni
Writers from Los AngelesWriters from Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated populati ...