John was such a supernova in his youth that we forget that he was only beginning to fully assert his gifts as a director. Kurosawa was 52 when he directed [High and Low]. Hitchcock was 56 when he directed To Catch a Thief. As much as we will treasure his body of work, we were looking forward to the films John would have made in the years ahead.
The late John Singleton's first three films—Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Higher Learning—formed a trio of resounding accomplishment and earned him a reputation as a prodigious visionary before he'd even turned 30. However, Singleton's career did not end there, instead continuing down (and thereby paving) a narrow path in Hollywood traversed by very few Black filmmakers, filled with blockbuster franchises, remakes, and eventually television. Even then, when there was so much more to be pursued and completed, John Singleton always kept his head up.
"I've had my highs and my lows, [but] I'm happy," Singleton told the Television Academy Foundation, in a series of interviews regarding the many touchstones of his prolific career. Recent video interviews of Singleton discussing films like Rosewood, Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious;his foray into television with The People v.s. OJ Simpson, Snowfall, and Empire; and even his music video for Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" are hard to find. This rarity makes the Television Academy Foundation's interviews (of which I've included only a few clips, the rest can be found here) with Singleton from July 2017 so precious as an artifact: now in his fifties, we see Singleton reflect upon his own brilliance and its endurance through three decades of filmmaking.
is a daily, international film publication. Our mission is to guide film lovers searching, lost or adrift in an overwhelming sea of content. We offer text, images, sounds and video as critical maps, passways and illuminations to the worlds of contemporary and classic film. Notebook is a MUBI publication.