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This Day In History: January 6th
Director, producer and screenwriter John Singleton first made waves in the film industry in 1991 with his debut film Boyz N The Hood. With other film credits such as Poetic Justice (1993), Baby Boy (2001), and Hustle & Flow (2005), it is no surprise that Singleton was able to build a reputation as a top contender in Black cinema.
John Singleton was born on January 6, 1968, in Los Angeles, California. Despite his lack of equipment to create films, Singleton still took an interest in the field. His storytelling began with drawings of superheroes in his notebooks. He studied film writing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Singleton credits Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg and August Wilson as his inspirations for becoming a director and screenwriter.
Prior to starting college, Singleton foreshadowed events to come when he met Spike Lee at the screening of his film She’s Gotta Have It. At the time, Singleton was unknown, but he alerted Spike Lee that he was on the rise. His breakout opportunity came in 1991 when Columbia Pictures bought his script for Boyz N The Hood and provided a multi-million dollar budget. The film starred talents such as Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne and Morris Chestnut.
The film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. He became the first African-American and the youngest person ever nominated for best director. Singleton followed up the success of his first film with works such as Higher Learning (1995), Rosewood (1997), Shaft (2000) and Four Brothers (2005). He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2003.
In addition to his work on films, Singleton also found success with television shows. He served as an executive producer on the BET series Rebel (2017) and FX Network’s Snowfall (2017). Singleton suffered a stroke and was placed in a medically induced coma. The famed director died on April 29, 2019, serving as an inspiration for future filmmakers and leaving behind a legacy of classic films.