OAKLAND, Calif. (AP/KTVU) - Friends, colleagues and fans all over the world began to pay tribute to the career and legacy of film director John Singleton, who made one of Hollywood's most memorable debuts with the Oscar-nominated "Boyz N the Hood", and who died Monday at the age of 51 following a stroke.
Among those in mourning is Oakland-based actor and director Delroy Lindo.
In an interview early Tuesday by phone from Thailand with KTVU, Lindo said he admired Singleton as both a man and as an industry leader who continued throughout his decades-long career to probe the lives of black communities in his native Los Angeles and beyond.
"There's a term, that 'film is forever,' " Lindo said. "If you put it on film, it lasts forever. No matter what John's later films were, no nobody will ever be able to deny the impact of "Boyz N the Hood" and "Poetic Justice.' "
Lindo is filiming a new Spike Lee movie on the Vietnam War called "Da 5 Bloods," and learned of Singleton's death from Lee himself.
Singleton was in his early 20s, just out of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, when he wrote, directed and produced "Boyz N the Hood." Based on Singleton's upbringing and shot in his old neighborhood, the low-budget production starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube and centered on three friends in South Central Los Angeles, where college aspirations competed with the pressures of gang life. "Boyz N the Hood" was a critical and commercial hit, given a 20-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and praised as a groundbreaking extension of rap to the big screen, a realistic and compassionate take on race, class, peer pressure and family. Singleton would later call it a "rap album on film."
For many, the 1991 release captured the explosive mood in Los Angeles in the months following the videotaped police beating of Rodney King. "Boyz N the Hood" also came out at a time when, thanks to the efforts to Spike Lee and others, black films were starting to get made by Hollywood after a long absence.
Singleton became the first black director - and at 24 the youngest - to receive an Academy Award nomination, an honor he would say was compensation for the academy's snubbing Lee and "Do the Right Thing" two years earlier, and was nominated for best screenplay. ("Thelma & Louise" won instead.)
KTVU's Dave Clark contributed to this report.