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The world discovered today that American Filmmaker John Singleton passed away at the age of 51 years old. American (but not only) cinema owes him a lot and he was for sure one of the most gifted filmmakers of his generation. He will be remembered for many films and especially Boyz N The Hood.

John Singleton Had A Purpose With His Career


When John Singleton was still a Film student at USC, he already knew he would make a difference in the cinema industry. His passion for filmmaking and his Afro-American folks would set up the scenery for John Singleton to deploy his film vision. All his filmography was dedicated to capturing the nuances of his characters in different films. He created character-driven movies that are easier to use in defining a culture. His film, Boyz N The Hood, was a true defining moment in American history. By staying focused on the main characters, it created a spotlight moment in American Cinema.


Boyz N The Hood Was A Defining Moment In Time

Twenty eight years ago, John Singleton released Boy N The Hood and opened up a true cinematic door into the reality in South Central Los Angeles. It features the story of young Tre Styles living with his single mother in Inglewood, California. This film was a real milestone at multiple levels, from the actors career as well as of the cinema genre.

Boyz N The Hood shows the difficult life in which violence, drugs are everywhere and unfortunately teenagers have lives they should not. “Getting old” was not an option for many of them as generally drugs or guns would take their lives away. The movie marked a true shift in filmmaking and explored the nature of a social problem, away from stereotypes. The film was such a powerful piece, that in 2002 it got to National Film Registry as a film culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.


This film was also the career-launch for many of the actors. The main character is played by Cuba Gooding Jr. It was for sure his breakthrough role in the cinema industry. With Boyz N The Hood, the world discovered the talent of Cuba Gooding Jr. But it was also a breakthrough role to others like Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut or even Angela Basset. It was a whole generation of new actors that would have an amazing career and still are. John Singleton did not stop with Boyz N The Hood. He created a very interesting filmography that is worth watching.

  • 1991- Boyz N The Hood
  • 1993- Poetic Justice
  • 1995- Higher Learning
  • 1997- Rosewood
  • 2000- Shaft
  • 2001- Baby Boy
  • 2003- 2 Fast 2 Furious
  • 2005- Four Brothers
  • 2011- Abduction
  • 2015- Empire (Tv Series, one episode)
  • 2016- American Crime Story (Tv Series, one episode)
  • 2016- Rebel (Tv Series)
  • 2017- Snowfall (Tv Series)

What Does John Singleton Leaves In Terms Of Legacy?

John Singleton revived and became a leading voice on what we call the Hood Film genre. This specific genre features aspects of urban African-American or Hispanic-American culture such as hip hop music, street gangs, racial discrimination, organized crime, gangster, gangsta rap, broken families, drug use and trafficking, illegal immigration into the United States and the problems of young people coming of age or struggling amid the relative poverty and violent gang activity within such neighborhoods. This genre started in the 1970s and took its entire meaning twenty years later with movies like Boyz N The Hood by John Singleton or Jungle Fever by Spike Lee.


In an industry that used to be closed to Afro-American directors, the Hood genre allowed a whole generation of artists to express their talent and opinions to make society a better place. John Singleton brought a modern story-telling style to cinema which served the purpose of many generations of directors all around the world. Here are my top 4 hood movies that you definitely need to know:

  • 1995- La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz (France)
  • 2002 – Cidade de Deus by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund (Brazil)
  • 2008- Talento del Barrio by José Iván Santiago (Puerto Rico)
  • 2017- Detroit by Kathryn Bigelow (USA)

As we can see, John Singleton was a massive influence in the cinema industry and his death represents a big loss for the cinema industry and for humanity. Hopefully, his work will be remembered and will inspire future generations of filmmakers.

Jose Amorin
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