John Singleton, Dead at 51

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Critically acclaimed film director John Singleton, has died at the young age of 51. After suffering a stroke on April 17th, Singleton was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Cedars Sinai hospital. After 12 days of being in a coma & being non-responsive, Singleton’s family had to make the heart-breaking decison to take him off of life support. Singleton is survived by both his parents and seven children.

John Singleton grew up in Southern California and studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. After graduating in 1990 Singleton’s debut film was a masterpiece that reflected his own chilhood growing up in South Central LA affectionately named “Boyz n the Hood.” Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, and Ice Cube. It was reported that Singleton received a 20-minute standing ovation after premiering his debut film at the Cannes Film Festival. Not only was Boyz n the Hood a critical success, it also was incredibly lucrative, taking in a little over $55 million at the box office despite funding the film with only $6.5 million.

The impact of Singleton’s debut film led him to being nominated by the Academy Awards in 1992 for Best Director & Best Original Screenplay. Although Singleton didn’t win in either category (The Silence of the Lambs won both categories) he did become the youngest director to ever recieve an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Furthermore, just eleven years after it’s debut, Boyz n the Hood was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Although Boyz n the Hood was arguably Singleton’s best work, he continued to  make films that spoke to young black youth and pushed the culture forward as Hip-Hop was starting to really emerge as a major force in American culture & society. His other notable films inlcude Rosewood, Shaft, Four Brothers, & the coming of age films Poetic Justice & Baby Boy.

For most people that are young adults between the ages of 23-30, 51 may seem like old age. However, when taking into consideration that the overall life expectancy of Americans is 80 years, it’s safe to say John Singleton’s stroke & untimely demise was no random occurence. According to close family members, John Singleton struggled with Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) which may have contributed to him suffering a stroke, which blocks the blood from flowing to the brain properly. Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure, causing the Hypertension. In America alone, an estimated 800,000 people every year suffer a stroke. Out of those 800,000 over 100,000 don’t survive it. Despite all the knowledge, money, and power that’s out there in the world to obtain, it will all be irrelevant if one is not mindful of their health in mind, body, and spirit. Although the black community lost one of its greatest filmmakers too soon, there can still be solace taken into the fact that in his brief time on this earth, John Singleton created works of art that will last for many generations to come. Rest In Peace, John Singleton (1/6/68 – 4/29/19)

 

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