John Singleton was the first African American film director to be nominated for an Oscar for his ground-breaking debut film ‘Boyz n the Hood.’
Music Industry Quarterly Magazine remembers legendary director John Singleton who passed away Monday, April 29, in Los Angeles at the age of 51.
In 1992, Singleton became the youngest individual to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination for “Boyz n the Hood” — a powerful inner-city drama which highlights the trials and tribulations of America’s youth. As a coming of age story, the narrative follows the lives of three young men, as the navigate one of the most dangerous cities in the country — South Central Los Angeles.
The ground-breaking feature exposes police prejudice, questions the adversity facing Black American communities, and challenges ‘inherent, systemic racism’ in the United States. The film has since been deemed as “a sign of progress” and “culturally significant”. The film was an undeniable source of motivation for those entering the entertainment industry and has since attained a classic status.
The film arrived alongside a cinematic movement from an influential new class of black directors that had emerged in the early 1990s. He ultimately steered Hollywood in a new direction by transforming how black lives are portrayed on screen.
Singleton also gained notoriety for his 1993 film “Poetic Justice” which starred Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. The film debuted at №1 at the box office and grossed over $27 million domestically during its opening weekend. The soundtrack would later by nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
His 1995 work “Higher Learning” was a thought-provoking portrayal of college life in the 1990s as three freshman struggle to find their place in the world. The film touches on issues of race, responsibility, and the meaning of post secondary education.
Singleton went on to direct a variety of films over the next 20 years most notably, “Rosewood” (1997) “Baby Boy” (2001), and “Four Brothers” (2005). His works were socially conscious, and his unwavering creativity helped to shape a revolutionary moment in film. He worked diligently to challenge the film industry through a new mode of storytelling.
by Lindsay Guion