It is a shame when a director you admire is taken all too soon. I was surprised when I heard that Oscar-nominated “Boyz N the Hood” director John Singleton had passed away on April 29 at the age of 51.
Singleton burst onto the scene with the aforementioned “Boyz N the Hood” in 1991, a feature film about young black men growing up in South-Central Los Angeles. He was still going strong, directing an episodic television series in addition to his feature film work when he reportedly suffered a stroke on April 17.
Singleton was the youngest director ever nominated by the Academy. He was just 23 when he started filming his masterpiece. “Boyz” to me is just a great piece of all-around entertainment.
Singleton followed that movie with personal projects like “Poetic Justice” with Janet Jackson and the late Tupac Shakur, and “Higher Learning,” in which he brought his headliners from “Boyz N the Hood,” Ice Cube and Laurence Fishburne to Columbia TriStar studios.
He then went on to direct the period-piece drama “Rosewood” with Ving Rhames and Oscar-winner Jon Voight in 1997. Then Singleton tackled a remake of “Shaft” in 2000. This one starred Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Rountree, who were in the 1971 original.
Singleton then went on to helm the sequel “2 Fast 2 Furious” sans Vin Diesel. It focused on Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Conner who was trying to nab a big-time drug dealer in Cole Hauser’s malevolent character Carter Verone.
I met Singleton in 2005 when I participated in the junket for his actor-game-drama, “Four Brothers.” He was very cordial, sincere and honest.
In 2001, he segued into another feature film with the slice-of-life drama “Baby Boy,” which starred Tyrese Gibson, Snoop Dogg and Taraji P. Henson. In 2011, I saw his release of “Abduction” with “Twilight” star Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins.
At various points in his career Singleton also delved into producing with titles such as “Black Snake Moan,” (2006) “Hustle and Flow” (2005) and “Illegal Tender.” (2007).