DIRECTOR JOHN SINGLETON DIES
NEW YORK (AP) – The man who made one of Hollywood’s most impressive movie debuts with the Oscar-nominated “Boyz N the Hood” has died. John Singleton’s family said yesterday that he died in Los Angeles, surrounded by family and friends. Earlier this month, the director suffered a major stroke – and a family statement says he died after being taken off life support. He was 51. Singleton was in his early 20s and fresh out of USC’s filmmaking school when he wrote, directed and produced “Boyz N the Hood.” Before that, Singleton said he had lived the movie about three friends coming up in South Central Los Angeles struggling to get to college while fighting off the lure of gang life. The budget was low – but the response was off the charts. The movie was nominated for an Oscar – making Singleton the first black director nominated in that category. And at age 24, he was also the youngest to be nominated for best director.
JOHN SINGLETON – IRONY
LOS ANGELES (AP) – There’s more than a little irony that the death of filmmaker John Singleton came on the anniversary of the 1992 verdict that acquitted four Los Angeles police officers in the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney King. The acquittals sparked riots in L.A. that left 55 people dead. The year before the verdicts, Singleton captured the explosive mood in Los Angeles with the release of “Boyz N the Hood.” As movies like his and those of Spike Lee became popular, Hollywood took steps toward releasing movies with blacks as central characters – after a long period of ignoring people of color and their stories. The story told by “Boyz N the Hood” still resonates. In 2002, it was added to the National Film Registry, which means it’s a permanent part of U.S. film history. In announcing the decision back then, the Library of Congress called the movie “an innovative look at life and the tough choices present for kids growing up in South Central Los Angeles.”
JOHN SINGLETON – HEALTH
LOS ANGELES (AP) – John Singleton’s death yesterday ends a week during which members of his family were at odds over the state of his health – and his finances. Last week, Singleton’s mother went to court to ask that she be named the director’s temporary conservator. The filing by Sheila Ward said Singleton was in a coma and needed someone to make medical and financial decisions for him. That move was opposed by Singleton’s daughter, Cleopatra – who filed a declaration of her own claiming her dad was not in a coma. It was unclear at the time of Singleton’s death whether either motion was granted.
JOHN SINGLETON – REACTION
NEW YORK (AP) – Notable reaction to the death of “Boyz N the Hood” filmmaker John Singleton:
“Thank you John for being my friend, brother and mentor for 30 years. For believing in me when I was unsure of myself. Your passion for telling our stories from our point of view was more than an obsession, it was your mission in life. Your love for the black experience was contagious and I would never be the man I am without knowing you. On April 29, 1992 you were on TV warning the world what was to come. I’m sad today, cause on this April 29th who will warn the world what’s to come. I love you and I miss you already brother.” – “Boyz N the Hood” star and rapper Ice Cube, in a statement.
“You gave me my first movie role, my first Oscar nomination and so much more. Thank you for all you have given to the world through your work and all you have done for Black culture, women and young filmmakers. I will miss you John. Keeping your family in my prayers.” – “Poetic Justice” star, pop star Janet Jackson, via Instagram.
“With His Passion, His Heart, The Way He Talked About His Love For Cinema And Black Folks I Could See John Would Make It Happen. And He Did. From Day One.” – Spike Lee, via Instagram.
“So sad to hear about John. I met him way before he did ‘Boys in the Hood.’ He had more drive then anybody I’ve ever met.” – Chris Rock, via Instagram.
“Thank you for all that you gave to the world the movies the messages the opportunities to so many people like myself to grace the big screen in a major role with major black actors you were and will always be black excellence love you for life and beyond.” – Snoop Dogg, via Instagram.
“Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton.” – “Boyz N the Hood” actor Regina King, via Instagram.
“Mourning the loss of a collaborator & True Friend John Singleton. 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! – “Shaft” star Samuel L. Jackson, via Twitter.
“RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.” – Jordan Peele via Twitter.
“The best life is when we leave a trail. We leave something on this earth bigger than us. John Singleton….you inspired a generation of Artists. We will shoulder on….’May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”. RIP” – Viola Davis, via Twitter.
“The youngest-ever Best Director nominee and an inspiration to us all. John Singleton, you will be greatly missed.” – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, via Twitter.
“This thing we call the cinema is over 100 years old and like most things it was a white man’s world. Women weren’t allowed into it. African Americans weren’t allowed into it, other people of color. The working class, we don’t go to film school, but people like John Singleton did. They forced their way in so that millions of Americans would have a voice, and he is a pioneer and one of the people responsible for that.” – Filmmaker Michael Moore, at the 50th anniversary gala at Film at Lincoln Center.
“John is admired for putting a lot of people of color to work throughout his career. Our prayers are with his children and family members. He will be sorely missed.” – Magic Johnson, via Twitter.
“The magnitude and world-wide impact that his ground-breaking film would have for society cannot be measured. Helping to bring awareness of what it takes to come to maturity as a black male in the ‘Hood, or die trying…” – “Boyz N the Hood” actor Morris Chestnut, via Instagram.
“Today my heart breaks. (hash)JohnSingleton was an innovator – he came to us with so much drive and clear creative vision in a time when people of color didn’t have the visibility in cinema that we do today. He is and will always remain a beacon of light in our community, and today we celebrate the incredible legacy he left behind and the cultural contributions he has made. Rest well my friend, we’ve lost one of the good guys.” – Halle Berry, via Instagram.
“Cruel. Not what I want to say right now. But certainly how I feel. Cruel. Just… so cruel.” – Barry Jenkins, via Twitter.
“There aren’t many of us out here doing this. It’s a small tribe in the grand scheme of things. He was a giant among us. Kind. Committed. And immensely talented. His films broke ground. His films mattered. He will be missed. And long remembered. Thank you, John. (hash)RunIntoHisArms” – Ava DuVernay, via Twitter.
“This one cuts deep. You’ll never be forgotten. Cause your work will live on.” – Writer-producer Lena Waithe, via Twitter.
“Rest up John Singleton. We never met, but Remember The Time literally changed my life. Thank you so much. God Bless you” – Chance The Rapper, via Twitter.
“There was a time when I was struggling to pay my bills in film school and not sure this town was for me. And one day, not long after Boyz N The Hood exploded on the scene, my phone rang. It was John Singleton. John did not know me at all. But someone at USC had told him I was talented and he was kindly calling to offer me some words of encouragement. He told me to keep writing. I never forgot it. Praying for him and for his family now.” – Shonda Rhimes, via Instagram.
SUICIDE SPIKE PEGGED TO TV SERIES
UNDATED (AP) – An interesting bit of news from researchers. A report says suicides among U.S. kids aged 10 to 17 jumped to a 19-year high in the month following the debut of a popular TV series that depicted a girl ending her life. The study by suicide researchers says there were 195 more youth suicides than would have been expected in the nine months after the March, 2017 release of “13 Reasons Why.” For example in April, 2017 – a month after the show began airing – 190 U.S. tweens and teens killed themselves. The study’s lead author says additional numbers crunching found that the April rate was higher than in the previous 19 years. Study author Jeff Bridge says the researchers couldn’t tell whether anyone who died by suicide had watched “13 Reasons Why.”
MIT STUDENTS HACK DOME WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA SHIELD
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – There’s no question students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are bright. They are also pretty up on pop culture. And those two factors led to another case of what they call “hacks” on the university’s iconic Great Dome. The dome was draped with a large cloth version of Captain America’s shield over the weekend. The red, white and blue shield went on the dome Saturday and was taken down yesterday. Students drew inspiration from “Avengers: Endgame,” which features Captain America and other Marvel superheroes.
TONY AWARDS NOMINATIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED THIS MORNING
NEW YORK (AP) – It’s the same kind of restless jitters that those in Hollywood get before the Oscar nominations come out – or those in the music world get the night before the Grammy nods are announced. Today it’s the Broadway community with a case of the willies, waiting for Tony nominations to be released. Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon will announce the picks. This year, there is no one show – like “Hamilton” – hogging the awards. So nominations this year are considered more of a toss-up than in previous years.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
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