Remembering Los Angeles-Born Director John Singleton

He made his debut at 24 with Boyz N the Hood.

John Singleton, the youngest person and first African-American to be nominated for a best direction Oscar, died on Monday at the age of 51. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Singleton, who directed eight films, including Poetic Justice and Hustle & Flow, made his breakthrough with 1991’s Boyz N the Hood

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Boyz N the Hood first showed up on Singleton’s application to the USC School of Cinematic Arts; he was calling it Summer of ’84 back then. Later, as a student in the school’s Margaret Mehring Film Writing Program, he learned an important lesson, he told The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway in a wide-ranging 2014 interview.

“’I learned that no one was going to write the films I wanted to do except for me,’ he said. ‘No one was going to have the vision to tell the stories that I wanted to tell except for me.’

“Singleton signed with CAA while he was a sophomore at USC and landed a deal at Columbia Pictures when he was a senior. In an important move, Steve Nicolaides, a producer on Boyz N the Hood, scheduled the inexperienced director to shoot his story from beginning to end, in continuity.

“’If you watch Boyz N the Hood, you can see me becoming better as a filmmaker,’ he said. ‘And that was great because it got more and more intense as the film goes along, so I’m just really … my instincts got better and better as a filmmaker within that seven-week schedule.’”

You can read more about Singleton’s life and career here.