Boyz n the Hood director was John Singleton hospitalized after suffering a stroke. The acclaimed filmmaker made history when he became the first black American to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar in the wake of Boyz n the Hood’s 1991 release, as well as being the youngest ever recipient of the honor, at age 24.
Though Singleton’s post-Boyz n the Hood output hasn’t reached the same status as that of his zeitgeist-defining 1990s inner-city drama, he has maintained a consistent output throughout the years, shifting more recently into TV. In fact, Singleton hasn’t made a feature film since 2011’s Taylor Lautner-led Abduction, which received a rather cold reception at the US box office, faring only slightly better internationally. That being said, Singleton’s work on the popular series Snowfall - about the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic and its effect on 1980s era Los Angeles - has been of particular note, as has his work on the Emmy-nominated documentary L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later.
Regardless of his cinematic or television output, the most recent news regarding Singleton is health related. According to Variety, the 51-year-old filmmaker has been hospitalized as the result of a stroke. Singleton’s family has released a statement, which states that the Boyz n the Hood director is “currently in the ICU and under great medical care.” The attending doctors have already characterized the stroke as “mild” and Singleton’s family is asking that the media and public now respect their privacy. The full statement reads as follows:
“John is currently in the ICU and under great medical care. We ask that privacy be given to him and our family at this time and appreciate all of the prayers that have been pouring in from his fans, friends and colleagues.”
Aside from the genuine quality of Boyz n the Hood, one of the reasons why the film found its mark so resolutely is that it focused on the realities that were occurring in America at that time. The tale of a group of friends dealing with the often-chaotic realities of life in 1990s South Central Los Angeles gave voice to a generation ravaged by poverty, gangs, and gun crime. Its unflinching ability to build empathy and awareness in its audiences broke down numerous social barriers of the time and helped give rise to a new era of black filmmaking in Hollywood.
With eight years having passed since he last released a feature film, fans of Singleton have been united in the opinion that it’s high time for something new. And while today, Hollywood continues to work toward more diverse and inclusive content, it’s definitely worth remembering that it was filmmakers like John Singleton who took those initial steps years earlier, putting issues faced by many marginalized people and communities directly in the spotlight.