Hollywood Pays Tribute to John Singleton: "A Brave Artist and a True Inspiration"

A number of Hollywood stars, including Jordan Peele, Chance the Rapper, Samuel L. Jackson, Janelle Monae and Regina King, took to social media on Monday to pay tribute to the late director, screenwriter and producer.

Hollywood stars and public figures took to social media on Monday to pay tribute to director, screenwriter and producer John Singleton, who died Monday following a "major stroke" on April 17, which left him hospitalized in a coma. He was 51.

Singleton was known for helming a number of films, including Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Baby Boy, Rosewood, Shaft and 2 Fast 2 Furious. He made history as the first African-American and youngest person to be nominated for a best director Oscar in 1992 for Boyz n the Hood

In addition to his work on films, Singleton directed episodes of the television shows Empire, Billions, 30 for 30 and American Crime Story. He also created and executive produced the FX series Snowfall, which was filming its third season early this month.

Prior to his death, Singleton's conservator Sheila Ward disclosed that he "was engaged in several business projects and was prepared to sign a lucrative settlement agreement on or about April 30, 2019" at the time of his stroke.

ICM Partners said in a statement, "John Singleton left an indelible mark on the world through his masterful artistry and uncompromising humanity. He was a visionary filmmaker and social commentator who created a path for a new generation of filmmaker, many of whom he mentored, in a way they never saw possible. His films and the incredible influence they had will be studied forever. John was a consummate professional in every way and an extraordinary friend. We were blessed to have had John in our lives. He is simply gone too soon. We send our love to his family, along with our prayers for comfort and peace."

Said DGA president Thomas Schlamme: "John didn’t just make his feature film debut in 1991 with Boyz n the Hood, he exploded into Hollywood, our culture and our consciousness with such a powerful cinematic depiction of life in the inner city. The groundbreaking film would go on to make him the youngest person and the first African American ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director."

Continued Schlamme: "For the next three decades, John’s career as a film director flourished with such culturally resonant films ranging from Poetic Justice and Rosewood to Shaft and 2 Fast 2 Furious. His expansion into television was no less powerful, with his direction of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson  earning him a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Dramatic Series in 2016. I was so fortunate to be a collaborator with John on the show Snowfall, and witnessed first-hand the enormous impact he had on so many."

John Landgraf, chairman at FX Networks, wrote in a statement: “On behalf of my colleagues at FX, we are heartbroken about the passing of our friend and partner, John Singleton. For almost three decades, John was one of the most important filmmakers in this business, dating back to his masterwork, Boyz n the Hood. Over the course of his illustrious career, John remained steadfast in telling stories that illuminate the daily challenges faced by African Americans, particularly those living in the inner city."

He continued: "We are honored and fortunate to have worked with John on The People v. O.J. Simpson and the drama series Snowfall, which he co-created and on which he is an executive producer and director. I know that the cast and crew loved John as much as we did, and that they are heartbroken over this news. Today we lost an incredibly talented artist, leader, activist, partner and friend — far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

On Instagram, Pose showrunner Steven Canals wrote, "In my twenties I made a commitment to myself: if I’m fortunate enough to meet a hero - someone who has inspired me - I will tell them. No shame. 3 weeks ago I spent several hours with John Singleton. He had a childlike curiosity and asked how a boy from the Bronx wound up working in Hollywood. I told him how Boyz in the Hood inspired me. I told him how he gave an 11-year-old the hope and the courage to dream. I told him how he taught me to be unabashedly honest as a storyteller. He shook my hand and offered his number. “Call me whenever you need advice.” I'm sad I’ll never get to use it. I’m grateful that I told him in his final days what he meant to me. RIP John Singleton."

Boyz in the Hood actress Nia Long sent this statement through her manager: “John Singleton was my beginning...the first person to see [me as] special. He changed Hollywood, created stars and had a seemingly impossible vision. He manifested greatness. He made black actors feel like anything was possible. He knew what he wanted frame by frame...moment to moment. His films were groundbreaking and honest. His heart was big and beautiful. Nobody can pump a fist in the air like John. He was a lover of music, art and history. A lover of everything black. He’s our cinematic hero. He’s dancing in the light now. A shining star. Bigger and more powerful. He will forever be my beginning...I love you forever John Singleton. We got work to do y’all -- let’s make him proud."

As more tributes flowed on social media, Jordan Peele called Singleton "a brave artist and a true inspiration." Said Janelle Monae, "Thank you for capturing US like no other." Screenwriter Larry Karaszewski wrote, "I'm going to miss laughing, talking, watching movies, making movies with this amazing human being." 

Writer and civil rights activist Shaun King said, "His movies populated my childhood."

Said George Heller, manager at Brillstein Entertainment Partners: "He was the best professor I ever had in my four years at USC Film School. The first day he had us write down three questions: Who are we? What makes us special? What stories do we have to share that only we can tell? Twenty years later, I think back on those three questions often, and implore my clients to find their voice and point of view only they can share with the world."

Read on to see what others had to say about Singleton.