John Singleton

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John Singleton
John Singleton 2013.jpg
Singleton at a Canadian Film Centre event, 2013
Born John Daniel Singleton
(1968-01-06) January 6, 1968 (age 46)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Spouse(s) Akosua Busia (1996–1997)

John Daniel Singleton (born January 6, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for directing Boyz n the Hood in 1991. A native of South Los Angeles, many of his early films consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include Higher Learning, Shaft, Baadasssss!, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers and Abduction.

Early life[edit]

Singleton was born in Los Angeles, the son of Sheila Ward-Johnson, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and Danny Singleton, a real estate agent, mortgage broker, and financial planner.[1] He attended Pasadena City College and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He graduated from USC in 1990, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[2] Singleton was enrolled in the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing program under Margaret Mehring[3] and her now famous curriculum. The program was designed to take students directly into the Hollywood system as proficient writer/directors.

Unlike the other standard USC programs for screenwriting, film production, or the Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing and critical studies programs, Mehring designed her FILMIC writing program to teach a select group of students how to be authors of their visions.[citation needed] Other students included Helen Childress (writer of Reality Bites), Stephen Chbosky (writer of TV’s Jericho), and Ms. Childress’ husband Carlos Brooks (writer/director of Quid Pro Quo). Singleton was always present in the Apple computer writing lab, working on his screenplays during late nights and early mornings.[citation needed] However, his ability to direct was correlated to an early beginning in music videos, which culminated in the EFX driven Michael JacksonRemember the Time” MTV video.[citation needed]


Singleton's 1991 film debut Boyz n the Hood received Academy Award nods for Best Screenplay and Director.[2] At age 24 he was the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. Singleton also directed the video for Michael Jackson's 1991 single "Remember The Time", starring actor Eddie Murphy.

In 1997, his film Rosewood was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

In 2005, Singleton teamed with Craig Brewer and financed the independent film, Hustle and Flow, once it was clear that most other major backers would not clear it for release.

In 2013 it was announced that Singleton would be the director of the 2Pac biography film.

Criticism of Hollywood[edit]

On March 19, 2014, Singleton criticized popular studios for "refusing to let African-Americans direct black-themed films". Singleton told an audience of students at Loyola Marymount University "They ain't letting the black people tell the stories." He also added, "They want black people [to be] what they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now — so-called black films now — they're great. They're great films. But they're just product. They're not moving the bar forward creatively. … When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special."[5][6][7]

Personal life[edit]

On October 12, 1996, John married Ghanaian actress Akosua Gyamama Busia, an actress and the daughter of Ghana's second Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. They have a daughter named Hadar Singleton who was born on April 3, 1997, who has appeared in Tears of the Sun (2003) and other productions. John also has a daughter named Justice Maya Singleton (born on October 17, 1992) with ex-companion Tosha Lewis, as well as a son, Maasai Mohandas Singleton (born April 3, 1994). He has six children in total.


On August 23, 2007, Singleton was involved in an automobile accident in which he struck a jaywalking pedestrian, Constance Russell, 57, of Los Angeles.[8] Staying on the scene until police arrived, Singleton was not under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and was released after being questioned. Russell died later in the hospital. The case was turned over to the District Attorney but no charges were filed.[9][10]






Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "John Singleton Biography (1968–)". Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b USC Cinema – Alumni » Pickford Award[dead link]
  3. ^ "USC School of Cinematic Arts – About » News » Margaret Mehring". September 3, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  5. ^ Appelo, Tim (24 March 2014). "John Singleton Says Studios 'Ain't Letting Black People Tell Stories,' Unveils Tupac Biopic Plans". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Child, Ben (25 March 2014). "John Singleton accuses Hollywood of ignoring black directors". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Rawden, Mack (24 March 2014). "John Singleton Slams So-Called Studio Liberals For Not Offering More Opportunities". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Filmmaker John Singleton Involved in Fatal Car Accident in L.A.". August 25, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Movie director Singleton kills pedestrian in accident". August 25, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ By (August 26, 2007). "Singleton released after questioning – Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 

External links[edit]