Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) honored the life of John Singleton who died this past April after suffering a stroke.
John Singleton, at the age of 24, was the youngest and first African American to be nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Singleton turned a film school script into arguably one of the most important films of the 20th century Boyz n the Hood (1991). The story follows three men as they navigate their lives through the obstacles of race, violence, cultural identity and relationships in L.A.’s Crenshaw neighborhood. The film is preserved in the National Film Registry for its cultural significance.
Subsequent works by Singleton include Poetic Justice (1993) starring Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson, Higher Learning (1995), Rosewood (1997), Shaft (2000) and Four Brothers (2005). Most recently he directed television shows including Billions, Empire and created, produced and scripted 10 episodes of Snowfall.
“SCAD takes its responsibility as educators and film industry stewards very seriously. The John Singleton tribute is an example of our unique ability to produce thoughtful and empowering content rooted in the legacy of one of our most important storytellers. SCAD was honored to invite members of the Georgia filmmaking community to our stage to celebrate his life and work,” said SCADFILM senior executive director, Leigh Seaman.
For a screening of Boyz n the Hood, over 150 guests attended. Guests and artists were encouraged to share their personal accounts of how Singleton and his work impacted their lives. “I felt honored to be included in the SCAD Film conversation of the life and work of John Singleton. Singleton’s images and stories reflected my community and the men in it. As a woman-of-color filmmaker here in Atlanta, being given a platform to inspire the next crop of filmmakers and help them better understand how careers like Singleton’s are built is a blessing I do not take lightly. Singleton forged the path I now walk down,” said panelist, Sherri Daye Scott.
Condace Pressley, director of community and public affairs, Cox Media Group, moderated a panel discussion. On the panel were Atlanta and industry professionals that included Gil Robertson, co- founder and president , African American Film Critics Association; Jason Perez, director ; Sherri -Daye Scott , writer and producer; and Adam Fristoe, SCAD professor, performing arts. Said Robertson, “SCAD’s salute to the late director, John Singleton, was a great continuation of producing programming that is responsive to issues that impact the arts and entertainment community around the world. The turnout for this celebration of Singleton’s work was strong. I was thrilled to represent AAFCA on this effort.”
Singleton involved himself in activism for urban communities and youth. He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California in 2003.