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Director John Singleton has died
Actress Aisha Tyler said late director John Singleton will not only be remembered for his films, but what he also did for filmmakers of color.
"He broke records, he broke stereotypes, he broke barriers," she tweeted.
Actor Wendell Pierce tweeted about John Singleton's legacy, saying the late director "spoke of creating stories that will illuminate the humanity of our people, African Americans past & present."
"He celebrated the contribution we make to the human diaspora," Pierce said.
Read his tweet:
John Singleton was just 23 years old when he wrote and directed "Boyz n the Hood," becoming the first African American — and the youngest person ever — to receive an Oscar nomination for best director.
The groundbreaking nature of that film, a deeply personal look at growing up in South Central L.A., is by itself an enduring legacy.
The movie dealt with a young man, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., sent to live with his tough, protective father (Laurence Fishburne), delving into the tragic impact of drugs, gangs and violence on the youth, his friends (Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut) and their community.
The pioneering aspect of "Boyz n the Hood" extended beyond the nuanced view of African-American life that it portrayed. Marking the film's 25th anniversary, Chestnut observed that the movie "made Hollywood take notice that there's some real talent out there that is just untapped."
"Boyz" was heralded as a sign of progress — and the movie has served as a source of inspiration to young filmmakers. Yet Singleton's signature film also stands as a symbol of an ongoing process in making Hollywood more open to diverse stories, and the structural challenges even such talent has to overcome.
Celebrities took to Twitter to express their sadness over the death of John Singleton and share their appreciation for the late director.
Read some of their tributes:
Samuel L. Jackson
Tracy Y. Oliver
Actress Jennifer Beals
The NAACP took to Twitter to remember John Singleton, calling him a "great director and storyteller" as word of his death spread.
The organization said Singleton was "never afraid to show African Americans in complex, multidimensional roles."
Read the NAACP's tweet:
Director John Singleton's roster of films expanded over decades and included major hits like "Boyz n the Hood."
But Singleton worked steadily in a variety of genres, directing dramas like "Rosewood" and "Baby Boy," a remake of "Shaft" starring Samuel L. Jackson and the action vehicle "2 Fast 2 Furious," the first sequel in "The Fast and the Furious" franchise, in 2003.
See Singleton's most memorable films:
John Singleton was the first African-American nominated for an Academy Award for best director for his 1991 movie "Boyz n the Hood." He was also nominated for best screenplay that year.
Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film as a "human drama of rare power."
"Singleton is a director who brings together two attributes not always found in the same film: He has a subject, and he has a style," Ebert wrote. "The film is not only important, but also a joy to watch, because his camera is so confident and he wins such natural performances from his actors."
His most recent work includes the FX show "Snowfall" about the rise of crack in Los Angeles. Singleton is one of the creators and executive producers of the show. According to the Internet Movie Database, Singleton directed three episodes.
John Singleton, a versatile director who made a splash with "Boyz n the Hood" and went on to a variety of projects — including "2 Fast 2 Furious" — has died after suffering a stroke, according to his family.
He was 51.
A statement from the Singleton family obtained by CNN reads:
“We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died. John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends. We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time."
The documents, in which Ward seeks temporary conservatorship, state that Singleton is "currently hospitalized in a coma and is unable to provide for his personal needs" or "manage his financial resources."
Singleton's daughter, Cleopatra Singleton, had opposed Ward's request, saying in the documents, "Although they do not have a concrete diagnosis, my dad is progressing every day."
Singleton, 51, who was the first black filmmaker nominated for the best director Oscar award, is known for films like "Boyz n the Hood" and "Poetic Justice." A show he co-created for the FX Network, "Snowfall," was renewed last year for a third season.