Hollywood is mourning the loss of John Singleton, who died at 51 on Monday after suffering a stroke.
Angela Bassett, who starred in his debut movie “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991, spoke with "Extra" at the Chanel Tribeca Film Festival dinner, where she remembered the director as a “visionary.”
“My prayers are with his family, his wonderful family, his beautiful children, one that I was working with on ‘911’ recently," she said. “I just sat with John about a month ago. That enthusiasm, that vision, that pride that he exhibited that he carried with him always… he was so good to filmmakers, to actors. He really was a collaborator, such a visionary.”
“Boyz n the Hood” earned Singleton Oscar nominations for directing and writing. At just 24, he was the youngest director ever to be nominated, and the first African-American director to be nominated.
Angela looked back at that time as “a seminal moment in black cinema… in cinema, for filmmakers to tell their stories and tell stories about our culture in an authentic and powerful way.”
Reminiscing, she continued, “I was new to Los Angeles and doing a lot of television… John was a young filmmaker, a couple months out of USC, and he was open to me coming into the audition process. We struck up a vibe and a conversation and just fell in love with him from that moment on.”
Bassett said she will miss “his enthusiasm. Whenever he saw you… He would just talk a brief moment, and he would get so excited.” She added, “He loved his people, he loved his work, he loved his community, he loved South Central… Proud Angeleno, proud brother, and stone-cold director.”
Last week, Halle Berry shared her thoughts on John with "Extra," saying, “I’m just heartbroken, he’s one of the good guys. He paved the way for so many people and artists of color, I know for me he did, and he has been someone special in my life."
Since he passed away, many of his famous friends remembered him on social media:
Mourning the loss of a collaborator & True Friend John Singleton. He blazed the trail for many young film makers, always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!! RIP Brother. Gone Way Too Soon!— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) April 29, 2019
RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) April 29, 2019
This is way too sad. The word 'groundbreaker' is thrown around too easily, but it applied to John Singleton, an inspirational, influential film-maker. While he had many accomplishments in TV and film, you felt he had still more surprises up his sleeve. 51 is far too young to go. https://t.co/pyxb11seS7— edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 29, 2019
The best life is when we leave a trail. We leave something on this earth bigger than us. John Singleton....you inspired a generation of Artists. We will shoulder on....'May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". RIP— Viola Davis (@violadavis) April 29, 2019
My prayers go out today to John Singleton and his family. May God bless the young cinematic king who gave us images that will stay with us forever.🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/tohsQTUPbj— Robert Townsend (@Robert_Townsend) April 29, 2019
Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton. Having trouble finding enough words to share just… https://t.co/SlQGwDEHU7— Regina King (@ReginaKing) April 29, 2019
💔💔💔 If it were NOT for #JohnSingleton I would not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame He put me in my first feature film #BabyBoy #RIHJOHNSINGLETON Thank you for this @tahani_tj— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) April 30, 2019