Honor ‘Boyz N The Hood’ Without Apology – Deadline

Bill Kramer, director of the Film Academy, said in Toronto on Saturday that his group’s film museum will dedicate space to the late director John Singleton in February. Boyz N The Hood.

So here’s a friendly plea to the museum: do this without apology.

For now, the Academy and its museum are in apology mode. This Saturday brings “An Evening With Sacheen Littlefeather,” complete with “a much-anticipated apology from the Academy” for what it describes as 50 years of boycott, assault, harassment and discrimination after Sacheen’s rejection on the podium of an Oscar meant for Marlon Brando.

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The museum’s current “Regeneration” celebration of black cinema also comes with a note of regret. “We should have seen it a lot sooner, but this is the day it starts,” Academy Governor Ava DuVernay said of Black Achievement during the show’s introduction.

The apologies may be in order. There will probably be more. But Singleton and his 1991 debut film deserve to be remembered for what they were: a proud and unabashed presence in a studio culture that welcomed them.

I knew John only a little, certainly a lot less well than his executive mentor and later collaborator Stephanie Allain, or the many young people who worked at his New Deal production company. When I was trying to produce movies in Columbia in the 1990s, I had an office two doors down from Singleton’s. We were partners on one project, a never-produced action film. Sometimes we talked – enough to understand his quiet pride in finding his place in the studio system at the age of 22.

He was so young when making Boyz N The Hood. By the age of 27, he had made three studio films (added: Poetic Justice and Higher education), all for Columbia – a remarkable achievement.

Sure, Singleton had his frustrations, then and later. Allain could tell you more about that. I especially remember a moment of personal insecurity, when he struggled with choices between potentially hot action projects or a deeper dive into black culture. He continued with rosewoodabout a lynch mob, for Warner, and mostly stuck to black culture.

But the respect he commanded in Columbia was no less than that of the more experienced filmmaker-producers – Penny Marshall, Harold Ramis, Danny DeVito, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Duvall, John Woo, Adam Sandler, Wolfgang Petersen, Jim Brooks — who then populated the Sony grounds.


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