John Singleton sat down with an audience of students at Loyola Marymount University as a part of The Hollywood Masters Interview series—and held nothing back discussing the lack of Black voices in Hollywood.
“[Studios] aren’t letting Black people tell the stories,” stated the Oscar-nominated director. “The Black films now—so-called Black films now—they’re great. They’re great films. But they’re just product. They’re not moving the bar forward creatively…when you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don’t have anything that’s special.”
Singleton, who is known for directing films widely considered as Black classics including Boyz N The Hood and Poetic Justice, says that today’s film executives just are not the same.
“There’s no Stephanie Allains,” he said, referring to the producer and former Columbia exec that backed his directorial debut. “Stephanie Allain kicked and screamed to get Boyz N the Hood made. Those people don’t exist anymore, whether they’re Black, white or whatever.”
“You’ve got a lot of Black executives at the studio who are afraid to give their opinion about what Black culture is,” Singleton maintained. “There’s a whole lot of Black people who work in studios that don’t need to be there, because they won’t—if I give them the best thing possible, they’re scared to give it to somebody [higher up], because they’d be like, ‘Woah!’ “
The acclaimed director is currently working on the biopic of late rapper Tupac Shakur, who starred in his 1993 drama, Poetic Justice. Singleton says that the project is personal, “I’m germinating over that time, and talking to old friends, and having these emotional moments.”
While he is keeping busy on the screenplay, Singleton said “I have no idea” how to cast the part. He is currently working towards a summer start date for the project.