Director John Singleton, famous for helming movies such as Boyz in the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Shaft, suffered a mild stroke on Wednesday April 17, and his family put out statement on Saturday saying that he remains hospitalized in the ICU “under great medical care.” While the 51-year-old recovers, many of his famous friends in Hollywood have sent shout outs for him to get better soon, including Snoop Dogg, Nia Long, and Omar Epps.
Singleton has been working in the industry for a long time as both a director and producer. He was the first African American to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director in 1992 for Boyz n the Hood, and most recently, he’s the co-creator of FX’s hit series Snowfall.
The USC film graduate who’s earned himself a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame has only been married once, to actress Akosua Busia for one year. Singleton has four children, one with Hadar, 22, Cleopatra, 26, who appeared in his movie Baby Boy, Maasai, 25, and Justice, 26.
Here’s what you need to know about John Singleton:
1. He’s the First African American to Be Nominated for Best Director and The Youngest
Singleton will forever be known for creating the iconic film, Boyz n the Hood, and in 1991, it earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Not only was he the first African American to be nominated in this category, at age 24, he was also the youngest to receive such an honor. The film also earned himself a nomination for Best Screenplay.
Even more impressive, Boyz n the Hood was Singleton’s first movie after graduating from USC’s film school. The movie stars Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Angela Basset, and Laurence Fishburne, and is loosely based on Singleton’s experience growing up on the streets of Los Angeles.
2. He’s Known for Casting Famous Rappers in His Films
Singleton loved to get rappers acting on the big screen, and he’s responsible for boosting the film careers of the late Tupac Shakur, Busta Rhymes and Ice Cube.
While appearing on The Queen Latifah Show in 1999, Ice Cube, née O’Shea Jackson said Singleton brought him in for a screen test to see if he could act before casting him as Doughboy in his first film, Boyz n the Hood. Ice Cube also starred in Singleton’s Higher Learning, and has since appeared in a long list of movies, including starring roles in all the Barbershop films, The Longshots, 21 Jump Street, Friday, and many more.
3. Singleton was Ordered to Produce A Short Film on Domestic Violence
In 1999, Singleton pleaded “no contest” to one count of battery against his then girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Cleopatra. It’s alleged that after a dispute over child visiting rights, an altercation took place in which he struck his 28-year-old girlfriend in the face and body, choked, and shoved her during an argument.
The court order the famed director to produce a 15 to 30 minute film on domestic violence. At the time, Singleton was 31-years-old, and he was fined $300, sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to attend domestic violence counseling.
4. He Once Dated Model Tyra Banks
Singleton dated model, actress, and businesswoman Tyra Banks, from 1993 to 1996. He gave Banks her first film role after casting her in Higher Learning. She had just come off guest-starring on Will Smith’s TV series Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and on her first day of filming her first theatrical film, she had the to shoot a sex scene with actor Omar Epps. “I was 19,” Banks said. “It was weird.”
5. He’s An Emmy Nominated Director of TV
Singleton’s talents are not just used on the big screen, he’s directed episodes for a number of TV series, including BET’s Rebels, and FX series, Snowfall, which he co-created with Erica Amadio and Dave Andron. The Oscar nominated director has also worked on the the series Showtime’s Billions, ESPN’s 30 for 30 on Marion Jones, American Crime Story: The People V O.J. Simpson, which earned him an Emmy nomination in 2016, and Empire.
He also directed Michael Jackson’s music video for the song, “Remember the Time.”
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