June 28 will mark exactly two months since John Singleton passed away at 51 after suffering a massive stroke. Since then people have paid their tributes and discussed his work, namely his first film “Boyz n the Hood,” released in 1991.
Many consider the film a masterpiece. Simply put, it turned Singleton from an unknown USC grad to a global star.
It was also the first time people saw Ice Cube act in a film, since he played the part of Doughboy, a Los Angeles street-tough who was forced to navigate through difficult inner-city circumstances.
Cube explained how he met Singleton and got the role, which, perhaps surprisingly, had to do with Arsenio Hall.
“I met John backstage at the ‘Arsenio Hall Show,’” explained the rap legend. “I was back there because I had a bone to pick with Arsenio. He didn’t have N.W.A. on his show, but he had 2 Live Crew, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, their songs are just as dirty as ours, and why are we not on?’”
“I never got a chance to talk to Arsenio because I saw this little kid come up to me, who was pretty much my age, saying, ‘You’re Ice Cube. I wanna put you in a movie.’ He said ‘I’m a junior at USC and you’re going to be perfect.’”
Cube said that he didn’t believe Singleton in the least, mainly because the rapper thought he wasn’t qualified to act in a movie, so he blew the conversation off. Plus he thought Singleton had no way of putting him in a film since he was just a young college student.
Then fast-forward one year later, and Cube saw the ambitious filmmaker at a Public Enemy concert. Singleton was stranded after the show because his ride left him, so Cube gave him a ride to his dorm room. But he still didn’t take his movie pitch seriously.
But one year later, the “Check Yo Self” MC was told by his manager that someone wanted him to be in a film. Still skeptical, he walked into a meeting and, to his surprise, Singleton was there.
“He put me in ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ the rest is history,” said Cube. “He’s just a great dude, and I’m just real thankful that I went to the ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ that day.”
Cube then talked about what made Singleton such an important filmmaker.
“John is important because, being a Black man, he wanted to make sure that on film he was able to produce the Black experience uncut,” he explained. “So people can really see how we are, how we feel. … I think he was just a champion to try to show the world what we’re all about. So I think he’s a great man for that.”