BET Awards: John Singleton Remembered by 'Boyz N The Hood,' 'Snowfall' Stars
Morris Chestnut and Damson Idris paid tribute to the late writer-director, who died in April after having a stroke.
Morris Chestnut and Damson Idris paid tribute to late writer-director John Singleton during the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday night.
Singleton died in April after suffering from a stroke. He was 51.
Singleton directed eight films during his career. He made his helming debut in 1991 with Boyz N the Hood, which earned him Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and directing. In addition to being the first African-American to be nominated in the best directing category, he also was the youngest person to be nominated.
Chestnut and Idris took the stage at the awards show to remember Singleton.
Chestnut began the tribute by recounting the first time he met the filmmaker. "It's 1989. Los Angeles, California. I meet a 24-year-old director fresh out of film school. He cast me in my first movie, which was his first film, as well," he said about Boyz N the Hood.
The actor recalled being nervous on the first day of the film. "John was just so brilliant at taking his time in guiding me and mentoring me. At the same time, he was putting together all of the pieces together for this incredible, incredible film," said Chestnut.
"John brilliantly brought to life the stories of black youth at a pivotal time in America," he continued. "I would see John often, as the years passed, and he'd always tell me how proud he was of me."
Added Chestnut, "I owe everything to John Singleton and our bond is something that will never be broken."
Idris, who stars on Singleton's FX drama Snowfall, then spoke about his first impressions of the director when they met in 2015. The actor noted that Singleton was a seasoned entertainment veteran and an award-winning producer by the time they worked together. "Simply put to me, John was a legend in the business," he said.
Idris added that he became close with Singleton after he was cast in Snowfall, which Singleton co-created. "From then on, he became not only my sensei, but my big brother," said the actor. "He hadn't changed much from the man Morris met. Still an assertive visionary, still determined to tell our stories his way."
"John Singleton, we will never forget who you are and what you meant to us and to this whole industry at large," concluded Chestnut. "Job well done. Thank you, John."
Watch the full tribute below.