The world was mourning the passing of Oscar-nominated movie director John Singleton. The acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter died Monday at only 51 years old following complications from suffering a stroke. Sadly, his family pulled him off life support after he had been placed in a medically induced coma.
“John Singleton is a prolific, ground-breaking director who changed the game and opened doors in Hollywood, a world that was just a few miles away, yet worlds away, from the neighborhood in which he grew up,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “John grew up in South Central L.A with a love of cinema that showed itself early on. He went on to become one of the most lauded graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Within months of graduating, John returned to South Central to shoot his debut feature, Boyz N the Hood. The movie, which was unusually shot in sequence, masterfully captured a story of friendship, youth and the peril of hard choices in a community marred by gang violence. The film earned special honors at its debut at Cannes and Singleton went onto become the youngest director and first African-American writer-director nominated for the Academy Award. Two decades later, the film was placed in the Library of Congress, a marker of its cultural and historical significance.”
Singleton’s career spans nearly three decades, which begins with 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood,” earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. He was the youngest filmmaker to be nominated in those categories. He was also the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director. However, what Singleton is also known for is giving big breaks to up and coming Black actors in Hollywood.
Singleton cast and worked with some of the greatest actors and Black creatives of our time, helping them to break through in Hollywood because of his movies.
Scroll down to see some of the more notable folks on the list.
1. Taraji P. Henson
Yesterday, the Oscar nominee wrote on her Instagram, “If it were NOT for #JohnSingleton I would not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame He put me in my first feature film.” That film was 2001’s “Baby Boy.”
2. Regina King
Although King was on the hit show “227,” Singleton had the Oscar winner her first three Hollywood movies: “Boyz n the Hood,” “Poetic Justice” and “Higher Learning.”
3. Ice Cube
I was discovered by a master filmmaker by the name of John Singleton. 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. He loved bring the black experience to the world. ..Us at Cannes ‘90 pic.twitter.com/CaRKjZtjgB— Ice Cube (@icecube) April 29, 2019
The rapper’s debut film was “Boyz n the Hood” and he wrote on Twitter, “I was discovered by a master filmmaker by the name of John Singleton. 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. He loved bring the black experience to the world.”
4. Janet Jackson
Miss Janet was a megastar but hadn’t quite broken into Hollywood. That all changed with 1992’s “Poetic Justice.” Jackson wrote on IG, “You gave me my first movie role, my first Oscar nomination and so much more. Thank you for all you have given to the world through your work and all you have done for Black culture, women and young.”
5. Angela Bassett
The actress had been grinding in Hollywood for years but playing Reva Styles, the mother of the main character in “Boyz n the Hood,” was her break through role. She wrote on IG, “He gave a voice and an opportunity to many. Count me in that grateful number.”
6. Morris Chestnut
Chestnut’s first film was Ricky in “Boyz n the Hood.” He lovingly wrote on social media, “When I left the audition for ‘Boyz N’ The Hood’ as he shook my hand, he gave me a stronger grip than normal and looked me in the eye. I felt he was basically giving me a signal that I had the job without telling me.”
Tyrese was known for commercials and a handful of television shows but his first feature film was 2001’s “Baby Boy.”
8. Cuba Gooding, Jr.
🎬John Singleton’s ‘Boyz N The Hood’ starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut & Laurence Fishburne premiered in theaters on July 12, 1991 pic.twitter.com/jWiqoA7N1g— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) April 29, 2019
Cuba Gooding, Jr. had several small roles but landing the role of Tre Styles in 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood” changed his life. Cuba Gooding, Jr. By 1996, he would be cast in “Jerry Maguire” and win an Oscar for best supporting actor.