John Daniel Singleton (born January 6, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer best known forDIRECTING Boyz n the Hood in 1991. For the film, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, becoming the first African American and youngest person to have ever been nominated for the award. Singleton is a native of South Los Angeles and many of his early films, such as Poetic Justice (1993), Higher Learning (1995), and Baby Boy(2001), consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include dramas such as Rosewood (1997) in addition to action films such as Shaft(2000), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Four Brothers (2005).

Early lifeEdit

Singleton was born in Los Angeles, the son of Sheila Ward-Johnson, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and Danny Singleton, a real estate agent, mortgage broker, andFINANCIAL PLANNER.[1] He attended Pasadena City College and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He graduated from USC in 1990, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[2] Singleton was enrolled in the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing program under Margaret Mehring[3] and her now-famous curriculum. The program was designed to take studentsDIRECTLY into the Hollywood system as proficient writer/directors.

Unlike the other standard USC programs for screenwriting, film production, or the Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing and critical studies programs, Mehring designed her FILMIC writing program to teach a select group of students how to be authors of their visions.[citation needed] Other students included Helen Childress (writer of Reality Bites), Stephen Chbosky (writer of TV’s Jericho), and Ms. Childress’ husband Carlos Brooks (writer/director of Quid Pro Quo). Singleton was always present in the AppleCOMPUTER writing lab, working on his screenplays during late nights and early mornings.[citation needed] However, his ability toDIRECT was correlated to an early beginning in music videos, which culminated in the EFX driven Michael Jackson “Remember the Time” MTV video.[citation needed]


Singleton's 1991 film debut Boyz n the Hood, an inner city drama starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.Ice Cube, andLaurence Fishburne, was both a significant critical and commercial success. For his efforts, Singleton received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.[2] At age 24 he was the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. The film has since attained classic status and, in 2002, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.[4]

Singleton's follow-up films Poetic Justice (1993) and Higher Learning (1995) were similarly socially conscious and received mixed to positive reviews. Singleton also directed the video for Michael Jackson's 1991 single "Remember The Time", starring actor Eddie Murphy.

In 1997, his film Rosewood, a historical drama about racial violence, was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[5] Both this and his 2001 filmBaby Boy received very positive reviews and helped establish Singleton's criticalREPUTATION. Additionally, his adaptation of Shaft (2000), starring Samuel L. Jackson in the title role, was successful critically and commercially.

Singleton has since turned toDIRECTING action films, such as 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and Four Brothers (2005), which have for the most part received mixed to negative reviews.

In 2005, Singleton teamed with Craig Brewer andFINANCED the independent filmHustle and Flow, once it was clear that most other major backers would not clear it for release.

In 2013, it was announced that Singleton was attached as director of the Tupac biography film. On April 3, 2015, Singleton reported that production was put on hold.[6] Four days later, it was announced that following creative differences with Morgan Creek Productions, Singleton had stepped down as director, and was replaced by Carl Franklin.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

He has six children in total. John has a daughter named Justice Maya Singleton (born on October 17, 1992) with ex-companion Tosha Lewis, as well as a son, Maasai Mohandas Singleton (born April 3, 1994).

On October 12, 1996, John married Ghanaian actress Akosua Gyamama Busia, who is the daughter of Ghana's second Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. They have a daughter named Hadar Singleton. born on April 3, 1997, who has appeared in Tears of the Sun (2003) and other productions, and were divorced in June 1997. John also has a daughter, Cleopatra Singleton, who was born in 1999.


On August 23, 2007, Singleton was involved in an automobile accident in which he struck a jaywalking pedestrian, Constance Russell, 57, of Los Angeles.[8]Staying on the scene until police arrived, Singleton was not under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and was released after being questioned. Russell died later in the hospital. The case was turned over to the District Attorney but no charges were filed.[9][10]

Criticism of HollywoodEdit

On March 19, 2014, Singleton criticized popular studios for "refusing to let African-AmericansDIRECT black-themed films". Singleton told an audience of students at Loyola Marymount University "They ain't letting the black people tell the stories." He also added, "They want black people [to be] what they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now — so-called black films now — they're great. They're great films. But they're just product. They're not moving the bar forward creatively. … When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special."[11][12][13]







Singleton has cast certain actors in more than one of his films:

Boyz n the Hood(1991) Poetic Justice(1993) Higher Learning(1995) Rosewood(1997) Shaft(2000) Baby Boy(2001) 2 Fast 2 Furious(2003) Four Brothers(2005) Abduction(2011)
Lloyd Avery II
Mark Boone Junior
Morris Chestnut
John Cothran, Jr.
Ice Cube
Tyra Ferrell
Laurence Fishburne
Tyrese Gibson
Dedrick D. Gobert
Tim Griffin
Cole Hauser
Taraji P. Henson
Catherine Kellner
Regina King
Marc Macaulay
Michael Rapaport
Ving Rhames
Busta Rhymes
Roger Guenveur Smith