John Singleton wasn’t afraid to take a chance on new talent when he made his feature directorial debut Boyz n the Hood in 1991. As the seminal film celebrates its 30th anniversary, Singleton, who passed away in 2019 after suffering a stroke, told ABC Audio two years prior that looking at the success of the actors he helped “put on,” like Ice Cube, was always a source of pride for him as a director.

“It’s a pleasant surprise. I mean to see that people have had long careers and they’ve gone on to do other things,” Singleton said. “Ice Cube has transitioned from being an actor-producer to almost mini mogul — making a lot of things happen in different ways in film and television.”

Even though Boyz n the Hood also was Cube’s acting debut, the accomplished filmmaker — who, at 24,  became the youngest person to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination thanks to the movie — says he takes no credit for the rapper’s success.

“I can’t take credit for any of that stuff — those of really talented people,” he says. “All they really needed was an opening in the business and they just ran with it.”

One of those “really talented people” is Tyrese Gibson, who starred in Singleton’s 2001 film Baby Boy. Gibson says he’s “grateful” that the director also saw something in him like he did Cube.

“John Singleton chased me for five years the way he did Ice Cube, the way he did a lot of people that made their acting debut in a film,” Tyrese says. “He was a visionary. He envisioned a lot for people that we may have not envisioned for ourselves.”

He continues, “There would not be a such thing as a Fast and Furious, Four Brothers, Waist Deep, Baby Boy, Transformers,” listing off his acting credits. “All of the movies that I’ve been able to do [would] be no such thing if John Singleton didn’t see something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

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