The Legacy of John Singleton

While I grew up a huge fan of movies and television, it was rare that I felt I could actually make either. Coming from Trenton, New Jersey, the closest I saw my town get to the mainstream was the video for Poor Righteous Teachers’ “Rock Dis Funky Joint.” Being black in America, especially as ’80s babies, we seldom witnessed realistic on-screen depictions of the areas we were from. But in 1991, John Singleton released his debut feature film, Boyz n the Hood. At the time, many outside of South Central Los Angeles had only heard about that area through N.W.A lyrics; being able to see Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy navigate those streets and come to grips with their realities? It was breathtaking. Having that film be nominated for two Academy Awards—including Best Director, making Singleton the youngest and first African-American to receive that nomination—was beautiful.

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