There’s a good chance you already know about John Singleton. He’s the mastermind behind movies such as Boyz N The Hood, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, etc. At only 24 years old Singleton became the youngest person ever to be nominated for Best Director at The Academy Awards and the first black person to be nominated too. That’s fucking fire. Boyz N The Hood paints a beautiful picture of 3 different boys going down different roads from South Los Angeles. It still holds up today and that movie came out in 1991. During the 90’s Singleton was just on a hot streak. Releasing Boyz N The Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning & Rosewood. And just to add to that, he directed the video for Remember The Time video for Michael Jackson.

John sticks out to me because he was not going to be shot down. He was going to make his art no matter what. And in the beginning of his career he kept getting these comparisons to Spike Lee. Probably because they’re both black. But the people at USC would try to shoot him down by saying: “Well, there’s only going to be one Spike Lee.” And he would respond: “Well, there’s only going to be one John Singleton.” That level of confidence is inspiring.


Seeing his movies as a young kid inspired me because it was rare to see black people in roles like how John portrayed them. Not every black person was a criminal or a drug-addict. You had the educated black men, the strong black mothers. and the youth that were determined to carve out their own paths. Plus, he made black coming-of-age films and that’s so rarely seen even now.

Deshaun is @deshaunstar everywhere