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John Singleton, African-American film director Dies at age 51

‘Boyz n the Hood’ was his own personal L.A. story

LOS ANGELES  - John Singleton, who made his directorial debut with the acclaimed film “Boyz n the Hood” about young men struggling in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood, died on Monday at the age of 51, his family said, days after he suffered a stroke.

“We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died,” the family said in a statement. “John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.” 
In a statement, his family said Singleton — like many African Americans — suffered from hypertension.

Earlier on Monday, the family said it had made the “agonizing decision” to withdraw life support from Singleton, who was being cared for at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since having a stroke on April 17.

Singleton was a native of South Central Los Angeles, the community that was the setting for “Boyz n the Hood,” a drama about friendship amid the peril of gang violence.

The streets of South L.A. were marked and divided by gang warfare when “Boyz n the Hood” arrived in America’s movie houses, a violent and profane yet somehow deeply sentimental look inward for a troubled city.

A coming-of-age story amid the destructive cross-currents of inner city life, the film marked the debut of a brash 24-year-old filmmaker, who’d polished off the script in just three and a half weeks during his senior year at USC. In every sense, it was his story, his neighborhood.

The 1991 film, nominated for two Academy Awards, pulled John Singleton into the company of emerging black moviemakers such as Spike Lee, Mario Van Peebles and Matty Rich. Relevant and thoughtful, Singleton remained prolific over the decades.

On Monday, 13 days after suffering a stroke, Singleton died after being removed from life support. He was 51.

Singleton later directed films such as action film “2 Fast 2 Furious” and historical drama “Rosewood.” He also directed episodes of TV shows including “Empire” and “Billions.”

Most recently, Singleton was the co-creator and executive producer of FX network TV series “Snowfall” about the start of the cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.

His family said Singleton was “a prolific, ground-breaking director who changed the game and opened doors in Hollywood, a world that was just a few miles away, yet worlds away, from the neighborhood in which he grew up.”

He also “loved nothing more than giving opportunities to new talent” including Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Ice Cube and Taraji P. Henson, the family said.

Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to Singleton on Monday.

“John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything,” filmmaker Jordan Peele wrote on Twitter.

Reuters/Latimes

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