Legendary Directors: John Singleton

By @_Oh_Bee and @TrueGodImmortal 

As the youngest person ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director when he was 24, John Singleton stands as a gem of our time. Singleton was a product of the Film Writing Program at USC. The three awards he won during his tenure there led to a Creative Arts Agency contract.

He is responsible for bringing what our generation saw every day to the big screen. In 1991, Singleton’s first major film “Boyz n the Hood” made its debut. The project focused on three young men growing up in Crenshaw. It shed light on the challenges African American males faced regarding race, violence, relationships, and their futures. Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, and Morris Chestnut led the cast in a film that changed the scope of our culture in Hollywood.

From one venture of excellence to the next, John teamed up with the legendary Michael Jackson to direct his video “Remember the Time.” It premiered on MTV, BET, and Fox. The video was set in ancient Egypt and featured Iman, Eddie Murphy, and Magic Johnson. Singleton blessed us again with “Poetic Justice” starring Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson. This film had a different approach to your normal love story. We saw pain, family, persistence, and relationships from a different perspective.

My absolute favorite project of Singleton’s is the 1995 film “Higher Learning.” The director told the story of a college experience from various points of view. The world was able to see what others couldn’t and exposed young adults to a life that exists outside of their four walls. With Omar Epps and Tyra Banks at the forefront, this movie grabbed the attention of a different set of eyes.

Singleton’s resume is extensive indeed and cannot be denied. He’s also the man behind the camera on “Shaft” (2000), “Baby Boy” (2001), “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), and “Four Brothers” (2005). Much like music, we all have a special connection to movies. I’d love to see another creation at the hands of John Singleton. Hollywood needs more originality these days and this is one director who doesn’t disappoint.

I was going to sit this one out, but I just couldn't resist. John Singleton is one of my favorite directors and I appreciate his contributions to film. He attempts to bring the black experience in the best way he knows possible and I will always value his films, especially Boyz N The Hood and Higher Learning. As a kid, I remember seeing Boyz N The Hood and instantly loving it. It reminded me in some ways of the surroundings I was in and I identified with it. From the pain of watching Ricky get shot to the plight of Tre along with the wisdom of Furious Styles, I truly appreciated everything about the film. It remains one of my all time favorites without a doubt. A cast full of very talented up and coming actors created a classic that broke barriers for film in many ways and opened the floodgates so to speak for more films of its kind.

With Poetic Justice, I truly enjoyed the role Tupac had, and felt that Singleton as a director knew exactly what to do with Pac as an actor. Pac wasn't necessarily believable in a tough guy role, but he certainly managed to make his role work as Lucky. Same for Joe Torry and his role as Chicago. Janet was good in this film as well. My personal favorite of all of John's movies is Higher Learning, which as exaggerated as it was, it hit right at home in many ways. Michael Rappaport and his work in the film was superb, not to mention Omar Epps and his role. It's a crazy tale that truly touches on subjects that affects many of our young black people and white people even to an extent. The movie is still relevant to the issues of today as well, which says a lot in many ways.

As Singleton continued on as a director, he made a few films I wasn't too fond of like the remake of Shaft and to an extent  Baby Boy, which I enjoyed at first, but now it just doesn't hold up as well, despite being immensely entertaining. He did a good job on 2 Fast 2 Furious, which I felt up until Fast 6 came out, was the best film in that whole series. Tyrese is extremely hilarious in his role and Ludacris also supplies a brief but strong performance in this one. In recent times, I find myself as a fan of the film Four Brothers, which was without a doubt, one of Singleton’s best of the 2000s. The film is a bit exaggerated, as most action films can be, but is a great watch and once again entertaining. Singleton attempts to drop and sprinkle some wisdom in all his films while still making them entertaining. What's next for him? There were rumors he would direct the 2Pac biopic, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, we are waiting for his next film.



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