John Daniel Singleton (1968- )

John Daniel Singleton
Fair use image

John Daniel Singleton, an Academy Award-nominated film director, producer and screenwriter, was born on January 6, 1968 in Los Angles, California.  Singleton was raised in South Central Los Angeles, a personal experience that can be seen in his films which often depict the impact of violence on inner-city residents.

After graduating from high school in 1986, Singleton attended Pasadena City College and then the University of Southern California (USC) where he enrolled in its School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC he formed the African American Film Association and completed a six-month director’s internship on the Arsenio Hall Show.  Singleton also twice won the Jack Nicholson Award for Best Feature-Length Screenplays while at USC.  Before his graduation in 1990, he signed with Creative Artists Agency.

A year later, Columbia Pictures offered to purchase the screen rights to his college thesis Boyz N the Hood.  Singleton agreed but only if he were hired as the director of the film.  Boyz N the Hood received mixed critical reviews.  Nonetheless it received Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Director.  In the latter category, Singleton at age 23, became the youngest person and first African American to receive that honor.

Singleton’s next two films were Poetic Justice (1993) and Higher Learning (1995). Poetic Justice dealt with dynamics and complexities of intimate relationships and Higher Learning examined race relations in higher education. While these films were successful they did not receive the same critical acclaim as Boyz N the Hood.  In 1997, Singleton directed Rosewood, and three years later the 2000 remake of Shaft.  In 2005, Singleton and Craig Brewer financed the independent film, Hustle & Flow, which proved popular with audiences and the critics.  Other directorial credits include Baby Boy (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Four Brothers (2005), and The A-Team (2008). In 2007,  Singleton produced Black Snake Moan and Illegal Tender.

Singleton has one daughter by Akosua Cyamama Busia, whom he was married to from 1996 to 1997.