John Singleton in the ’90s is who Ryan Coogler is becoming for this generation. Singleton is responsible for some of the greatest urban culture classics of all time like “Boyz N The Hood,” “Higher Learning,” “Baby Boy,” “Four Brothers” and more. He also became the first African American and youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director in 1991 for ‘Boyz N The Hood.’
Singleton followed up that success with the release of the 1993 movie classic “Poetic Justice,” starring music icons Tupac and Janet Jackson. In a recent interview, the “Rosewood” director shared memories of Pac and Janet on set of the movie, and even gave insight on the rumor about Tupac having to get a AIDS test before touching Janet.
Singleton shared that initially he wasn’t feeling Pac as a rapper and tried to convince the rapper his acting skills were better. He said, “I’m the stupidest person in the world to be telling Pac [that]…When we were working initially, he wasn’t that good a rapper. I was like, ‘You a’ight, but you a better actor.’ He was like, ‘F*ck you, man. Hip-hop is my voice.’ Hip-hop, being a rapper—that’s like being a gunslinger, that’s your manhood. Can’t nobody take that from you. If you can spit 16 bars and take somebody down that’s like having a multiple weapon. I’m telling him, ‘That’s not your weapon—your weapon is the fact that you’re going to be a major star.’ He couldn’t see it.”
He then spoke briefly about how him and Tupac would playfully flirt with Janet Jackson on set and how a joke turned into a publicity rumor. Singleton said, “Me and Pac didn’t know Janet was married, so we both were flirting with her and stuff. We’re on the set joking, with Janet there and the whole cast, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want you kissing my actresses—I don’t know where your lips have been. We gonna do this love scene with y’all, we’re gonna have to get you a double. He was like, ‘F*ck doing that, [only] if we’re really f*cking!’ We’re gonna have to get you an AIDS test for you to kiss my actress! And it became a joke.”
These days, Singleton is still making realistic and compelling entertainment with his show “Snowfall” on FX.