John Singleton

Director, Producer, & Screenwriter

“Now, I'm so relaxed that I have to make myself nervous. I feel better when I'm second and third guessing myself over everything. I play with the mice in my head, all the time.”

Born John Daniel Singleton on January 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. Singleton grew up in South Central Los Angeles and his work as a film director, producer and screenwriter often depicts these turbulent, often violent roots.

He studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, winning three writing awards from the university, which lead to a contract with Creative Artists Agency during his sophomore year.

John Singleton

In 1991, Columbia Pictures bought his script for Boyz n the Hood and budgeted it at $7 million. The film portrayed life in crime–ridden South Central L.A. and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director in 1991, making Singleton the first African-American and the youngest person ever nominated for the award. The film also garnered a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Singleton followed the win with Poetic Justice in 1993 and Higher Learning in 1995. Both films examined modern race relations, and while they enjoyed success at the box office, they were not as highly praised by critics as his debut effort.

John Singleton

Subsequent works include 1997's historical drama Rosewood, 2000's Shaft remake starring Samuel L. Jackson, and 2001's Baby Boy. In 2005, he produced the critically acclaimed indie film Hustle & Flow and directed the box office hit Four Brothers.

Singleton was married to Ghanaian princess and actress Akosua Cyamama Busia from 1996 to 1997; they have a daughter.

On March 19, 2014, Singleton criticized popular studios for “refusing to let African-Americans direct 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.”


Quick Facts

Birth Date:
January 6, 1968

Death Date:
April 28, 2019


  • John Singleton
  • John Singleton
  • John Singleton

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