On this episode of Points on the Board, host Kyle Harvey sat down with screenplay writer, host of ForAllNerds Podcast and Wakanda’s favorite DJ, DJ BenHaMeen.
BenHaMeen stopped by to discuss a slew of topics including the untimely passing of film icon, director John Singleton and the impact he had not only in film and television but in hip hop as a whole.
John Singleton sadly passed away Monday after his family made the decision of taking the filmmaker off life support. Singleton was in a coma for some time after suffering from a massive stroke.
Although Singleton is gone, his legacy lives on forever. His debut film Boyz N the Hood is one of many, highly revered films by the director.
As a Howard Alumni, BenHaMeen studied and obtained his degree in film and recalls “Star Wars” solidifying his stance on wanting to become a film director. The self-published author also spoke on his early thoughts on the film legend.
“I remember Spike Lee coming on to the scene. It was like, oh, who’s this?. And there was that wave around it. And then John Singleton came out. I mean, I like Boyz N the Hood, but I remember when it messed me up,” said BenHaMeen—recalling a moment in his film class.
“I look at the beginning of this movie. And It starts out with the facts about black men on the screen and how many people get shot or whatever. And the gunshot goes off and it cuts to a stop sign. And [he’s] like ‘that’s symbolism.’ And I was like, it’s goofy. It’s over the top and it’s like right in your face.
Hearing the significance of the movie’s symbolism from his white counterpart was what made BenHaMeen see the deeper effect of Singleton’s skill set.
“For a white dude to be telling me this is a black filmmaker, he’s using symbolism, and this is how symbolism works. He’s telling us, we need to stop all the violence and everything by using the stop sign. And it cuts to the little kid walking around talking about do you want to see a dead body—which is also a reference to Stand by Me”.
Singleton not only demonstrated his power in storytelling but his familiarity with the culture.
“That also showed that John Singleton knew movies. Showing that not only did he know his culture, but he knew the other side. And he could combine them to where someone from the other side had to give him his respect”.
Adding, “that was one of the moments where I was like, this is somebody. This is a black dude, like me. And he’s getting the respect of white people, who I didn’t think were paying attention to [us] at all”.
Yet, Singleton often combined different worlds. The director is widely regarded for giving some of Hip Hop’s greatest stars their first shot at roles that were once not offered to them. Which ultimately made a ripple effect of rappers then taking their shot at directing.
“We wouldn’t have Friday. We wouldn’t have so much if he hadn’t given him the role of Doughboy to set it off, to start the whole thing. 2Pac in Poetic Justice, you had Janet in there. He put Busta in Higher Learning,” noted BenHaMeen.
John Singleton was a visionary, who created an avenue for the black community to see themselves in its authenticity all while garnering the respect of his peers.
Check out a clip from the episode and be sure to check out the full podcast when it drops later this week.