Taraji P. Henson, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and Others React to John Singleton’s Death: ‘You Made Us Believe’

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As reported, the legendary filmmaker John Singleton passed away on Monday at the age of 51 after his family removed him from life support.

“John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends,” read a statement from his family. “We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want to thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.”

Singleton checked himself into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles earlier this month after he returned from Costa Rica with weakness in his legs. He suffered a stroke on April 17 and then fell into a coma.

The Los Angeles native, who graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 1990, became the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Best Director award at the Oscars for his 1992 film “Boyz n the Hood.”

Singleton was also the first black director to ever receive that Oscar nod and the second black person to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay. He’s responsible for spring-boarding the careers of actors like Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Tyrese, Taraji P. Henson and others as well.

But despite the success of “Boyz n the Hood,” which told the story of young black men growing up in South Central L.A., Singleton didn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed.

He also told stories about love with “Poetic Justice,” acceptance in the film “Higher Learning” and had major success in the action genre by directing “2 Fast 2 Furious.”

And before his death, he wrote, directed and produced the FX series “Snowfall.”

Shortly after the news of Singleton’s passing surfaced, Chestnut, who played the role of Ricky Baker in “Boyz n the Hood,” wrote a message about how much of an impact the film made.

“The magnitude and world-wide impact that his ground-breaking film would have for society cannot be measured,” he wrote on Monday. “Helping to bring awareness of what it takes to come to maturity as a black male in the ‘Hood, or die trying… Helping to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced.”

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This is where it all started. The Genesis – The Genius – The Genre Maker/Star Maker (Taraji P. Henson, Ice Cube, Tyrese Gibson, Lawrence Fishburne, Regina King,Nia Long, Angela Basset, Cuba Gooding, Jr. – in no particular order as these are all great actors/actresses). John Singleton gave me a chance. When I left the audition for "Boyz N' The Hood" as he shook my hand, he gave me a stronger grip than normal and looked me in the eye. I felt he was basically giving me a signal that I had the job without telling me. From there, there was no comprehension of the massive chain of events that was about to follow. People from all over the world literally tell me how they’re affected by Boyz ‘N The Hood. The magnitude and world-wide impact that his ground-breaking film would have for society cannot be measured. Helping to bring awareness of what it takes to come to maturity as a black male in the 'Hood, or die trying… Helping to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced. Dealing with challenges and adversity in life and in general. From that lesson, for anyone who watches Boyz N’ The Hood, we are able to learn a little more about ourselves and each other. Hopefully, we are able to grow, evolve and gain a deeper love and understanding of our humanity. John Singleton, thank you for your vision. Thank you for holding my hand a little stronger. Thank you for connecting with me and thank you for connecting me to history. Thank you for connecting and transcending generations, nationalities, nations, races, communities, societies. Thank you, John Singleton, for connecting us all. #RIP #JohnSingleton

A post shared by Morris Chestnut (@morrischestnutofficial) on

Henson, who starred in Singleton’s film “Baby Boy,” also posted a message.

“YOU saw in me what I did not see in myself!!!,” she wrote. “YOU taught me about the power of my eyes!!! I will FOREVER miss you my dear sweet John Singleton.”

Long, who also played in “Boyz n the Hood” shared a special message as well.

“We were fearless kids making a movie and telling your story. You saw my special first. You made us believe…then they believed. You changed Hollywood, created stars and knocked down doors. Without your contributions, your vision, your voice, your laugh, your fist pumps and bumps….where would we be?”

You can see more posts from those who knew Singleton and worked with him below.


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