Legendary Director, Producer & Screenwriter John Singleton Dies of Stroke at 51

Written by on 30 April 2019

A trailblazer of black cinema, legendary director, producer and screenwriter John Singleton died from a stroke at the age of 51 on Monday. Reports broke that Singleton suffered a stroke earlier in April and had been in a coma ever since. Not only a director of groundbreaking classics like “Boyz n the Hood,” “Poetic Justice,” “Higher Learning” and “Baby Boy,” Singleton was one of the handful of black directors tasked with taking the authentic black experience mainstream, showing it to a wider audience who may not have been familiar with the trials and tribulations of black life in America.

Singleton was part of a burgeoning group of filmmakers that understood that black stories had to be told by an authentic story and not whitewashed. He wasn’t afraid to touch on subjects that may be difficult or sensitive like gang violence, racism, poverty, rape, wealth disparity, abusive relationships and more. He showed the dark side of life with dignity, grace and human compassion, which led to him being widely recognized and acclaimed for his work. In fact, “Boyz n the Hood” earned Singleton two Oscar nominations, which was history-making itself with him being only 24 (youngest nominated for a Best Director award) and the first black person nominated.

Beyond the silver screen, Singleton made his mark by testifying before a Senate subcommittee on America’s youth and violence, speaking to the spike in youthful offenders. Singleton was probably one of the best to understand the complicated, underlying causes of violence among the youth and the devastating effects.

Singleton maintained his relevancy from his first endeavor to the end with his continued work and support for the next generation of black filmmakers. His works were legendary. His approach was unique and he will truly be missed.

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