The hip-hop and film community are mourning the loss of legendary director, John Singleton, who passed away on Monday (April 29th) at the age of 51. According to Rap-Up, Singleton — who is behind numerous films including Boyz N the Hood and Baby Boy, had been in a coma after suffering a stroke on April 17th. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after his family made the decision to take him off of life support.
Singleton’s family told CNN in a statement, “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 to thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.”
The writer, director and producer made history at age 24 by becoming the youngest and first African-American to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars for Boyz N the Hood, which according to Rap-Up, was based on his experiences growing up in South Central Los Angeles.
Many of Singleton’s friends and collaborators including Taraji P. Henson, Ice Cube, Spike Lee, Tyrese and Janet Jackson took to social media to pay respect to the famed filmmaker.
Reactions to John Singleton’s Death:
Spike Lee: “I Will Forever Miss My Brother John Singleton. We Met While He Was A Film Student At USC. Over Many Years People Have Told Me “I’m Going To Be A Filmmaker”, When John Said That To Me The 1st Time We Met, I Believed Him Right Away. It Was No Surprise. 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, We Have Remained Close Over The Decades, Cheering Each Other On In This Industry That Is Not Set Up For Us To Win. John Singleton’s Films Will Live On Forever. Blessings And Prayers For His Family. May John Rest In Power. Amen.”
Taraji P. Henson: “My heart is broken!!! I am at a loss for words. Can’t stop crying. I WILL MISS YOU MY DEAR FRIEND JOHN SINGLETON!!! You gave me my first big break in #BabyBoy and again in #HustleandFlow you believed in me when Hollywood did not get me at all!!!Throughout my career when I needed advice it was YOU I called and you answered EACH AND EVERY TIME with sound advice. YOU NOTICED MY FUNNY AND COMEDIC TIMING LOOOONG BEFORE HOLLYWOOD CAUGHT ON and you named me Lucy (after Lucille Ball)!!! MY GOD!!! Up next for us was the Emmett Till story……………..I am just broken!!! God bless your mom and your beautiful babies and family. Praying for ALL of our strength as we try and move on without you. MY GOD MY GOD!!! #RIHJohnSingleton.”
Tyrese: “Laying in bed, I’m confused my soul feels drained.. For the last 2 days I was in the presence of my HERO a man who literally changed my life and my families life forever.. Of ALL the people in the world he decided to believe in me?.. a young impressionable ghetto little black boy from Watts who had hopes and dreams praying everyday that God would figure out a way to get me out of the hood and see some shit… Like many of my n***as I grew up with I just didn’t wanna end up in jail, or dead.. I woke up after crying myself to sleep with a heavy heart, Yesterday I took a shower and while standing there.. Just started balling crying I got out of the shower and went back to lay down and the tears wouldn’t stop, I told my wife these exact words.. ‘Baby I know today is my last day in town and we made family plans but I need to get back to John and pray over him. I feel like tomorrow or next week might not be promised, I’m leaving to go back to London and I got this feeling deep in my chest, my heart is fluttering… And although I have complete faith in God and his miracles I feel like he might not be here when I get back.’ … I think we all felt like we needed to spend as much time as we could cause Ive learned after losing Paul and countless others.. it’s arrogant to think or believe that next seconds of life or next week is promised. I can’t believe I’m write these words….. Rest in Love, Rest in Power Rest in Gods glory… Your Baby Boy aka Baby Brother aka Jody for life!!”
Ice Cube: “I was discovered by a master filmmaker by the name of John Singleton. He not only made me a movie star but made me a filmmaker. There are no words to express how sad I am to lose my brother, friend & mentor. He loved bring the black experience to the world. ..Us at Cannes ‘90”
Ava DuVernay: “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. #RunIntoHisArms”
Ludacris: “I honestly can’t even find the words right now. This one Hurts Bad. Signing off social media for while.”
Janet Jackson: “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.”
Omar Epps: “I can’t find the words right now 😪 All I can say is thank you brother! Thank you for sharing your immense gifts, having an unapologetically powerful voice, and standing for our people and our culture. I learned a lot from you. I salute you king! I pray that you’re at peace, and are dancing with the angels now. Tell Pac I miss him and love him. Damn… We can’t ever question God, but sometimes it’s like damn… Rest in paradise John! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Praying for your family as well.”
Gabrielle Union: “I really didnt want to believe I'd to have to write something like this about John. I am a believer of miracles. Alas…I met John when my older sister Kelly enrolled at USC in 1986 & quickly became friends with a group of fun loving, black, creative masterminds. They called themselves the 'Black Pack' I was 13 then and in awe of how loud and proud they were. Each friend contributing a different vibe and talent. By the time I turned 18 they chaperoned (yeah right 🤗) my birthday party. When I transferred to UCLA they promised my family they would look out for me & they did. The entire time I've been in Hollywood I knew I had big brothers who had my back & that knowledge gave me wings. While they all accomplished so much, there was John breaking barrier after barrier making dreams into reality and never losing that loud and proud, by any means necessary mentality. Flash forward decades and I'd run into him in the islands or Miami and we'd laugh in awe and glee at how far we'd both come. I will forever be grateful to the Black Pack & John Singleton. You showed me exactly what we can do when we stick together. Love & Light to all his loved ones and fans. Hold onto one another, we are greater together. Rest in eternal peace.”
Morris Chestnut: “This is where it all started. The Genesis – The Genius – The Genre Maker/Star Maker (Taraji P. Henson, Ice Cube, Tyrese Gibson, Lawrence Fishburne, Regina King,Nia Long, Angela Basset, Cuba Gooding, Jr. – in no particular order as these are all great actors/actresses). John Singleton gave me a chance. When I left the audition for ‘Boyz N' The Hood’ as he shook my hand, he gave me a stronger grip than normal and looked me in the eye. I felt he was basically giving me a signal that I had the job without telling me. From there, there was no comprehension of the massive chain of events that was about to follow. People from all over the world literally tell me how they’re affected by Boyz ‘N The Hood. 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… Helping to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced. Dealing with challenges and adversity in life and in general. From that lesson, for anyone who watches Boyz N’ The Hood, we are able to learn a little more about ourselves and each other. Hopefully, we are able to grow, evolve and gain a deeper love and understanding of our humanity.
John Singleton, thank you for your vision. Thank you for holding my hand a little stronger. Thank you for connecting with me and thank you for connecting me to history. Thank you for connecting and transcending generations, nationalities, nations, races, communities, societies. Thank you, John Singleton, for connecting us all.”
Chance the Rapper: “Rest up John Singleton. We never met, but Remember The Time literally changed my life. Thank you so much. God Bless you.”
Janelle Monāe: “I am so thankful as a kid that my parents took me to the theaters to see your films (Boys n the hood , higher learning , poetic justice , rosewood , baby boy to name a few. You captured our culture so damn well & taught the world about the MANY complex black experiences.”