Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA


September 9, 2022, 7:00 P.M.

Norris Cinema Theatre at the Frank Sinatra Hall, 3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

This event is by invitation only.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts, USC African American Cinema Society (AACS),
and USC Visions & Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative,
Invite you and a guest to attend


A Special Screening of SCA Alumnus John Singleton's
Landmark Debut Feature Film


Written & Directed by SCA Alumnus John Singleton
Produced by Steve Nicolaides

Followed by a Panel Discussion featuring:
Shelia Ward (John's Mother)
Frank Price, Chairman of Columbia who greenlit Boyz n the Hood
Kojo Lewis, Location Manager, Boyz n the Hood

Moderated by Filmmaker & SCA Faculty Robert Townsend

7:00 P.M. on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Norris Cinema Theatre at the Frank Sinatra Hall
University of Southern California
3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED due to the high percentage of people who don't honor their reservations, therefore RSVPs DO NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater has reached seating capacity.

We will have an OVERFLOW theater at the nearby Ray Stark Family Theater in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex for anyone who is denied admission to Norris Theatre due to capacity.



Presented as part of John Singleton: A Celebration
A Year-Long Tribute to SCA Alum and Icon John Singleton
From September 9th, 2022 - April 19th, 2023



About Boyz n the Hood

Boyz n the Hood is the critically acclaimed story of three friends growing up in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, and of street life where friendship, pain, danger and love combine to form reality. "The Hood" is a place where drive-by shootings and unemployment are rampant. But it is also a place where harmony coexists with adversity, especially for three young men growing up there: Doughboy (Ice Cube), an unambitious drug dealer; his brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a college-bound teenage father; and Ricky's best friend Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who aspires to a brighter future beyond "The Hood." In a world where a trip to the store can end in death, the friends have diverse reactions to their bleak surroundings. Tre's resolve is strengthened by a strong father (Larry Fishburne) who keeps him on the right track. But the lessons Tre learns are put to the ultimate test when tragedy strikes close to home, and violence seems like the only recourse.

Provided courtesy of Columbia Pictures. Rated R. Running time: 112 minutes.

About the Guests

SHELIA WARD, John Singleton's Mother & Business Manager, New Deal Productions Inc.

Shelia Ward could be considered one of the more knowledgeable people regarding John Singleton, the man, and the artist. She became his business manager shortly after he completed his education at USC. Her advice and input have been instrumental in framing John's business affairs long before any of his film project came into play.

Her college education began when her son, John Singleton entered kindergarten. Shelia earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University Dominguez Hills. After college she became a Medical Sales Executive in a mostly male dominated field. During her career in sales and as a business manager she subsequently earned a Master’s Degree in Business Management from California State University Los Angeles.

As John's career excelled in film her expertise was needed. From then on Shelia served solely as the business manager for New Deal Productions Inc, a production company created by John Singleton, who then became the youngest Academy nominated director and first African American. Shelia took an active role in overseeing and arranging aspects of several film productions under New Deal Productions Inc including Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, and Baby Boy. Her responsibilities increased when John independently produced Hustle and Flow and Illegal Tender. She worked with song writers including those who wrote the original song ‘Its Hard Out Here for a Pimp’ (Oscar winning Original Song) as well as other independent song writers for both films. In addition, she was required to assist with clearances of music for both projects. Shelia’s work is multifaceted and mostly behind the scenes.

In addition to her ongoing management duties for New Deal Productions Inc, Shelia is the Program Director of the Dakar Foundation, a private nonprofit created by John. She also served a term as Secretary for the local chapter of NAMD, a national marketing association. As well, she has devoted time to volunteering at the YWCA, Pasadena Unified School District Arts Program, the Los Angeles Urban League and MPYD, a male mentoring program on the campus of John Muir High School. She has graciously spoken to students at several schools including the Pasadena Alternative program with a topic that focuses on young mothers.

As a self-motivated person she believes that actions and words matter equally. Just for fun she is working on her creative writing projects. Shelia is currently resides in Southern California.

FRANK PRICE, Doctor of Fine Arts, Former Chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures

Frank Price is a visionary leader whose legendary career as a writer, producer, and studio executive exemplifies the power of cinema to impact our culture and societal institutions. Mr. Price led two iconic movie studios as chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures and president of Universal Pictures. Significantly, he greenlit projects that were both entertaining and had something important to say, especially about society’s entrenched inequities.
Mr. Price first found success overseeing hit television series including The Virginian, Ironside, Battlestar Galactica, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman. He established a new form of entertainment with The Doomsday Flight, the first feature that was specifically made for the smaller television screen. Another milestone project, titled Rich Man, Poor Man, helped establish the miniseries as a television mainstay.
Mr. Price leveraged his reputation as a hitmaker to champion groundbreaking television films like A Case of Rape, a ratings sensation that influenced the creation of laws to protect rape victims; That Certain Summer, network TV’s first positive depiction of a married gay couple; and Farewell to Manzanar, about the shameful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. He received Peabody and NAACP Image Awards for The Tuskegee Airmen, an HBO film about the famed Black pilots.
Mr. Price was equally visionary as a studio executive with credits including Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Gandhi, and The Karate Kid. He championed films that exposed gender inequality, including Kramer vs. Kramer, A League of Their Own, Tootsie, and Out of Africa, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1985, and is one of more than 20 of Mr. Price’s projects to win an Oscar.
Mr. Price’s impact extends to our School of Cinematic Arts, where he formed and chaired the Board of Councilors for almost 30 years. He and his wife Katherine established USC’s Endowed Chair in Race and Popular Culture, amplifying work that addresses complex questions of identity and representation. Mr. Price became acquainted with the school when he let a young graduate direct his own script about life in his South Los Angeles neighborhood. That decision gave the world Boyz N the Hood, and made John Singleton the first African American and youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director.
Mr. Price is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of humanities from Michigan State University, which he attended. He is also a USC Life Trustee, contributing to the well-being of Trojan students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

KOJO LEWIS, Location Manager, Boyz n the Hood

Bio coming soon.

About the Moderator

ROBERT TOWNSEND (SCA Professor of Screenwriting and Directing)

Robert Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers of the Independent Film World.” Hailing from the West Side of Chicago, by the time Townsend was 15 he was recruited by Chicago’s X Bag Theatre (the Experimental Black Actors Guild). Once he was old enough to go out on his own, Townsend moved to New York and honed his craft as a stand-up comedian, stage, and film actor.

Bolstered by his individual success, Townsend developed a burning desire to step behind the camera to personally address the difficulty black actors had finding work in the film industry. Without formal film training and funding, Townsend wrote, directed, produced, and starred in his feature debut, the critically acclaimed, HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE, a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of black actors in Hollywood.

Following the success of HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE, Townsend directed Eddie Murphy in the highest-grossing stand-up comedy concert film of all time at the box office, EDDIE MURPHY RAW. His next film was the inner-city fable, THE METEOR MAN, which is heralded as Hollywood’s first Black superhero film. One of Townsend’s most applauded projects is the popular soul musical, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS. Other films include B*A*P*S, THE HOLIDAY HEART, CARMEN: A HIP HOPERA, and IN THE HIVE. Following crossing a 25-year milestone for the film, Townsend executive produced the independent documentary MAKING THE FIVE HEARTBEATS, which chronicles his journey to create THE FIVE HEARTBEATS. The documentary has been nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award, and Robert is now adapting THE FIVE HEARTBEATS as a musical for the stage.

In television, Townsend created, starred in, and executive produced The Parent ‘Hood which successfully ran for five seasons on The WB. Thereafter, Townsend took his talents to the executive ranks as President and CEO of Production for The Black Family Channel (BFC), creating and spearheading production for BFC’s top-rated shows. During his tenure, he created 15 shows and readied the network to be sold to the Gospel Music Channel. In the past year, Townsend has directed TBS’s The Last O.G., Netflix’s Colin in Black & White and The Wonder Years reboot for ABC. Additionally, he has helmed episodes for BET’s American Soul, OWN’s Love Is…, and the CW’s Black Lightning.

Throughout his career he has been nominated for more than 30 NAACP Image Awards. In 2021 Townsend was awarded the Micheaux Film Festival’s Oscar Micheaux Trailblazer of Excellence Award. Townsend gives back by regularly mentoring young filmmakers at the University of Southern California as a professor of screenwriting and directing. While he has many accolades, none are more important than his family. His four children are the center of his heart.

About John Singleton: A Celebration

Throughout the 2022/2023 academic year, Visions and Voices, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and the USC African American Cinema Society, will host a series of screenings honoring the life and career of trailblazing filmmaker, iconic Angeleno, and USC alumnus, John Singleton. Screenings will take place at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum, with conversations to follow featuring cast and crew, including screenings of:

Boyz n the Hood (1991): 7:00p on Friday, September 9th, 2022 - Norris Cinema Theatre
Poetic Justice (1993): 7:00p on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 - Ray Stark Family Theatre
Higher Learning (1995): 7:00p on Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 - Ray Stark Family Theatre
Rosewood (1997): 7:00p on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022 - Ray Stark Family Theatre
Shaft (2000): 7:00p on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 - Ray Stark Family Theatre
Baby Boy (2001): 7:00p on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 - Ray Stark Family Theatre
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003): 7:30p on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023 - David Geffen Theater, Academy Museum
Four Brothers (2005): 7:00p on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 - Ray Stark Family Theatre

All screenings will require individual RSVPs. Each film will have a unique event page, which will go live on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year.

About SCA Alumnus John Singleton

John Singleton was a film director, screenwriter, producer and USC alumnus. Singleton, who died on April 29, 2019, at age 51, was a Los Angeles native, and a graduate of the Filmic Writing program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (now the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television) in 1990. While at USC, he won the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award, given to a promising film school student, two years in a row: first in 1988 for Twilight Time, then the following year for Boyz n the Hood, which he wrote as his senior thesis on a campus library computer.

Boyz n the Hood, which Singleton also directed, had a breakout debut at the Cannes Film Festival and made Singleton the youngest person and first African American nominated for a directing Oscar. Made for $6 million, it grossed $57.5 million during its studio run and introduced Hollywood to a slate of then-unknown talent—Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Angela Bassett, Nia Long—all of whom would become household names, not to mention Laurence Fishburne. It gave the world a new version of Los Angeles, one that Singleton described as “sunshine and bullets.”

As a native of South Los Angeles, many of his early films, such as Higher Learning (1995) and Baby Boy (2001), consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include Rosewood (1997), Shaft (2000), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Four Brothers (2005). Singleton also executive produced the crime drama series Rebel, created by Amani Walker for BET, and co-created Snowfall for FX.

He started “attending” USC even before he was officially a student, while still a teenager in high school in South Los Angeles. Faculty and staff remember him as a precocious film historian, roaming the halls, asking questions about their work, and engaging them in conversations about favorite films, his being Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

Singleton was a dedicated alumnus, making appearances at many University events, and returning to teach a class in 2016 titled “Emergence of Multicultural Cinema.” He was the 2006 recipient of SCA’s Mary Pickford Award, given to a distinguished alumnus at graduation each year; and in 2016 he received a Legacy Award from the University’s Black Alumni Association. He was an active member of the SCA Alumni Development Council and was also an SCA parent, having inspired his son Maasai to enroll at the School.

Singleton’s success created a model for other aspiring Black filmmakers. In the two decades since Singleton graduated, filmmakers like Rick Famuyiwa, Sheldon Candis, Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple Jr., and Tina Mabry, to name just a few, have found encouragement at the School. Rick Famuyiwa, who also grew up in a South Los Angeles neighborhood around the same time and makes films about the city, including The Wood (1999) and Dope (2015), describes Boyz’s success as “life changing,” and Singleton as the example of what living the dream could look like.

The School of Cinematic Arts and the USC Black Alumni Association have also established the John Singleton Scholarship for the Arts at USC to support students of color who are pursuing degrees in the arts at the university.

About the John Singleton Scholarship for the Arts at USC

As a devoted alumnus of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, John Singleton exemplified what it means to be a Trojan. He loved the university, and selflessly and enthusiastically gave his time and talent to helping our students succeed. John was frequently on campus, whether to teach a class on multicultural cinema, speak on a panel, or just because he wanted to hang out and talk about films with the next generation. He would have a hard time leaving because students always wanted to talk to him!

In addition to his dedicated involvement with SCA, John was also closely involved with the USC Black Alumni Association. A recipient of a BAA scholarship as a student, John never forgot the support and encouragement he received from the BAA, serving as an active mentor to BAA Scholars in the arts, contributing to the BAA’s scholarship fund, and engaging with students and alumni at BAA events such as Homecoming, various mixers and the annual Scholarship Benefit.

John was an example for the many students USC works to recruit from underrepresented communities, who have the talent to also be groundbreaking scholars, artists and creators like John, but don’t know how to get there. This is an important part of his legacy, and we hope you will continue that legacy by making a gift toward the John Singleton Scholarship for the Arts at USC.

Designed to honor John’s love for and legacy within both SCA and the BAA, this scholarship fund will support students of color from the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area and to students from underrepresented minorities within the University community who are pursuing an education in the arts at USC.

Learn more at

About the USC African American Cinema Society (AACS)

Founded by the late John Singleton, while still a working student, and David L. Watts , the African American Cinema Society is an evolving incubator of artists and creatives of all sorts interested in the entertainment business and industry. We host events/screenings on and off-campus with special guests and Q&As. Our organization receives invitations to world premieres from studios, such as Disney, Marvel, and Sony because of the life and legacy of our predecessors. AACS continues to be most proud of establishing networking and collaboration opportunities as well as industry internships to our SCA community from acceptance through graduation.

Vision: The purpose of this organization is to provide networking opportunities for people of color, encourage a support system across all disciplines of interest as it relates to entertainment, but especially inside the cinema school.

Mission: The mission of the African American Cinema Society is to highlight and promote art and artists who are invested in showcasing complex and sophisticated representations of blackness and the black diaspora. 

We collaborate with Black University of Southern California students to create an environment in which we can thrive. Whether it’s networking events, screenings, Q&A’s with industry professionals, or advocating for students, we are pride ourselves on embodying the change we wish to see.

The current presidents are Catelin Shane (Graduate Production MFA) and Isaiah Simon (undergraduate Writing BA).

@uscaacs on all social media

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. A reservation confirmation will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


On-campus parking at the University of Southern California is limited, and it is best to visit the USC Transportation Website for the most up-to-date information if you plan to drive and park on campus:

This program is generously sponsored by

For more information about upcoming programming and events offered by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, please visit their website.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago