John Singleton: Boyz N The Hood director dies aged 51

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John Singleton became the first African-American nominated for a best director Oscar

Oscar-nominated director John Singleton – known for films including Boyz N The Hood and his remake of detective movie Shaft – has died at the age of 51.

A family statement confirmed the influential filmmaker fell ill in hospital last Wednesday and had been admitted to intensive care.

Born in Los Angeles, Singleton acted as a trailblazer for African-American directors throughout the 1990s.

In 1992, he became the youngest Oscar-nominated director for Boyz N The Hood.

The film’s success also meant that Singleton become the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for the best director Oscar. He also received a second nomination for best original screenplay.

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Gooding Jr (centre) played Tre Styles in the drama

Singleton also produced 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious.

A graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts, 1991’s Boyz N the Hood – written when he was just 24 alongside producer Steve Nicolaides – addressed themes of inner-city violence in Los Angeles.

It was a breakout role for actors Angela Bassett, Nia Long and Cuba Gooding J, who went on to win an Oscar for Jerry Maguire. It also marked the film debut for rapper Ice Cube.

Outspoken critic

Alongside the Shaft remake in 2000, Singleton’s other credits include Higher Learning (1995) and 1993’s Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

Singleton has more recently focused on TV projects, directing episodes of Empire and American Crime Story, as well as acting as creator and executive producer on 2017’s Snowfall.

Latterly, Singleton has accused Hollywood of trying to “homogenise” black film-making.

“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,” he told the Hollywood Masters Interview series in 2014.

“They’re not moving the bar forward creatively … when you try to make it homogenised, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don’t have anything that’s special.”

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