Acclaimed filmmaker and former Pasadena resident John Singleton died on Monday after his family removed him from life support following a stroke on April 17. He was 51.
Born in Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 1968, Singleton attended Blair High School and later Pasadena City College before graduating from USC in 1990.
Although several movies had been made about gang violence, Singleton’s 1991 film “Boyz N the Hood” was a critical and commercial success, leading to him becoming the first African American and youngest person to be nominated for best director.
The movie was shot in sequence, and Singleton later commented that the last act of the film was better than the first part of the film because he did not know how to direct when he started, but learned along the way.
“A brilliant young Pasadenan, John Singleton lived an extraordinary life. He contributed so much knowledge to the public discourse in America,” said Pasadena City Councilman John Kennedy, also a Blair graduate who had met Singleton several times.
In 2014 Singleton criticized movie studios for “refusing to let African Americans direct black-themed films.”
Singleton directed a reboot of “Shaft,” “Baby Boy” and “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the first sequel in the popular “Fast and Furious” franchise.
“They ain’t letting the black people tell the stories,” Singleton said while speaking to students at Loyola Marymount University. “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.”
Recently he had moved to television where he co-created and produced the FX series “Snowfall,” detailing the rise of crack cocaine in South Central LA. His other television directing credits include work on “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Billions” and “Empire.”
Singleton is survived by his mother Sheila Ward, father Danny Singleton and children Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis, and Seven.