Obama posted a message about Singleton Tuesday on Twitter, praising the South Los Angeles native for telling real stories about the struggles of inner-city life.
“His seminal work, Boyz n the Hood, remains one of the most searing, loving portrayals of the challenges facing inner-city youth,” Obama wrote. “He opened doors for filmmakers of color to tell powerful stories that have been too often ignored.”
Over the years, Singleton helmed a string of hit films, but he was perhaps best known for Boyz n the Hood, which he wrote and directed fresh out of USC film school.
The 1991 drama offered a compassionate study on the challenges of life in South Central L.A., including economic hardship and gang violence. The film featured Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut in their first movie roles.
In addition to opening doors for young actors, Singleton helped up-and-coming filmmakers get their movies made. He produced Craig Brewer’s Oscar-winning 2005 film Hustle & Flow and the 2007 inner-city drama Illegal Tender from Franc. Reyes.
Singleton, who was the youngest filmmaker ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar, suffered a stroke on April 17, and was hospitalized for 12 days.
The 51-year-old directing legend died Monday, April 29, after his family made the difficult decision to have him removed from life support.