Boyz N the Hood sent audiences reeling and marked the start of an uneven career for a writer-director whose films were rooted in lived experience
Hollywood wasnt ready for John Singleton when he exploded on to the movie scene at the age of 23 and maybe its been unready ever since. When Singleton was nominated for the best director Oscar for his sensational 1991 debut Boyz N the Hood (for which he also wrote the original screenplay), he was the first African American film-maker to have been entered for the category and the youngest person ever.
He didnt win. But as Singleton sent audiences reeling out of theatres with Ice Cubes How to Survive in South Central over the closing credits, it seemed to many that here was a young master, with a compelling film about young men growing up in South Central Los Angeles, something to be compared to Scorseses Mean Streets or Fellinis I Vitelloni. Yet despite the respect and affection for him, despite a strong professional work rate, despite continued creativity and focus resulting most recently in a new TV crime series Snowfall Singleton arguably did not have the fully realised directorial career that others had.
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