'Boyz n the Hood' director John Singleton dead at 51
'Boyz N The Hood' director John Singleton is dead at 51, TMZ reports. The acclaimed filmmaker was taken off life support, after suffering a massive stroke one week ago. A Singleton representative told the media outlet he passed "peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends."
12 days after returning from a trip to Costa Rica, Singleton reported having problems with his legs, and suffered the stroke. The director was taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the Los Angeles, where he has been in a coma. His mother filed legal documents asking to his temporary conservator because of his inability to properly provide for his own personal needs.
"We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the outpouring of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received," the family said in the statement."
“Like many African Americans, Singleton quietly struggled with hypertension. More than 40% of African American men and women have high blood pressure, which also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe. His family wants to share the message with all to please recognize the symptoms by going to Heart.org."
Singleton directed several notable films throughout his three decade career, including including Boyz N The Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Baby Boy, Four Brothers, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Hustle & Flow. He also directed several episodes of American Crime Story, Empire and Billions.
In 1991, Singleton became the first African American nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director, thanks to his landmark film Boyz N The Hood. He also became the youngest person to be nominated for the award, at age 24. On social media, Singleton's fans and peers mourned his passing.
"John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything," tweeted Jordan Peele. "One of the greatest to ever do it," wrote Regina King, who worked with Singleton on Boyz N The Hood. "Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton."
"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," tweeted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. "Mourning the loss of a collaborator & True Friend," wrote Samuel L. Jackson, who worked with Singleton on the 2000 film Shaft. "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!"
The pioneering filmmaker was born in Los Angeles in 1968, the son of a pharmaceutical executive and a real estate agent. Throughout his career, he paved the way for other black filmmakers, and remained a vocal critic of major Hollywood studios.
"[Studio executives] ain't letting the black people tell the stories," Singleton told students at Loyola Marymount University in 2014, per The Hollywood Reporter. "[They say] 'We're going to take your stories but, you know what? You're going to go starve over here and we're not going to let you get a job.' The so-called liberals that are in Hollywood now are not as good as their parents or ancestors. They feel that they're not racist. They grew up with hip-hop, so [they] can't be racist. ‘I like Jay Z, but that don't mean I got to give you a job.'"
He added: "They want black people [to be] what 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 product. 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."
Singleton will be missed.