John Singleton’s Legacy of Honesty

Hasan Kwame Jeffries SAVE THIS

(Kathy Hutchins /

William Shakespeare famously wrote, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” In true Shakespearean fashion, the Bard of Avon attached multiple meanings to his words. But the most meaningful interpretation of this turn of phrase is the most literal one, which suggests that honesty is the best gift that one can leave for posterity. This is also the reading that best encapsulates the legacy of director and screenwriter John Singleton, who died late last month at the age of 51.

John Singleton was a truth teller. He told the truth about what it was like for African American youth coming of age in post-industrial Los Angeles, California, his hometown, in his 1991 directorial debut film, Boyz n the Hood. An artistic and commercial success, the movie peered behind the veil of contemporary Black America, revealing the harsh reality of urban life that too often…

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