John Singleton: A Celebration – Higher Learning

Wednesday, October 12 at 7:00pm

Ray Stark Family Theatre (SCA), SCA 108
900 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089

John Singleton: A Celebration – Higher Learning

Admission is free. Reservations required.


Throughout the 2022–23 academic year, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC African American Cinema Society, and USC Visions and Voices will host a series of screenings honoring the life and career of trailblazing filmmaker, iconic Angeleno, and USC alumnus, John Singleton (1968–2019). 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.

Kristy Swanson, Omar Epps, and Michael Rapaport star as first-term freshmen who get a crash course in diversity, identity, and sexuality in writer/director John Singleton’s bold look at contemporary college life. Also starring Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, Jennifer Connelly, and Tyra Banks.

The post-screening conversation will include the following:

As senior vice president of production, Stephanie Allain personally pitched Boyz n the Hood to Columbia Pictures’ executives. The controversial film would become a critical and commercial hit and launch John Singleton’s career. In 2003, Allain founded Homegrown Pictures, a film and television production company dedicated to creating content by and about women and people of color with authentic stories, depictions, and representation. Allain, who made history in 2020 when she became the first Black woman to produce the Academy Awards (for which she was Emmy-nominated), has produced films including Hustle & Flow, Something New, Peeples, Beyond The Lights, and Dear White People. She is currently producing her first documentary, which is about Billy Preston.

Cassandra Butcher was the unit publicist for John Singleton’s Higher Learning, as well as Poetic Justice, Rosewood, and Baby Boy. Currently head of talent and awards at Audible Studios, Cassandra was also chief marketing officer at BRON Studios, where she developed and implemented extensive publicity and promotional plans and integrated marketing strategies on titles including House of Gucci, Judas and the Black Messiah, Bombshell, Respect, and Candyman. Butcher also spent a decade as vice president of national publicity at Fox Searchlight, where she contributed to releasing and awards campaigns that garnered many Academy Awards and other awards recognition, including The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, and 12 Years a Slave.

Bruce Cannon was a long-term collaborator with John Singleton, editing Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers, Abduction, and the TV series Rebel over 28 years. He began his editorial career apprenticing and assisting film editor Carol Littleton on five films: Roadie, Body Heat, The Big Chill, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He then worked as an additional editor on Tony Bill’s Crazy People and Dick Pearce’s Dead Man Out with editor Mia Goldman. His first solo feature editing credit was The End of Innocence, directed by Dyan Cannon.

As one of today’s leading producers, Paul Hall is a pioneer in championing and nurturing unique and underrepresented voices and guiding established studios in their marketing campaigns to broadening platforms. His feature film credits include Addicted and For Colored Girls for Lionsgate, as well as recent Tyler Perry hits Temptation and Madea’s Witness Protection, the game-changing Higher Learning, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, the 2000 reimagining of Shaft, Johnson Family Vacation, and the cult hit Soul Plane. His television work spans all of the major broadcast and cable networks, including 30 for 30: Marion Jones, Press Pause for ESPN, Tales for BET, and Uncensored for TV1. In addition to developing film and TV projects, Paul regularly creates and consults with the marketing division of BRON studios. For PBS, he recently created the online digital initiatives for Ken Burns’ documentary series Ali.

After he earned his Theatre Arts degree at  USC, Baldwin Sykes made his acting debut in Boyz n the Hood as the character of Monster. He also appeared in the John Singleton–directed music video “Remember the Time” with Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy. His acting credits also include the films South Central, The Hank Gathers Story, Class Act, and Not Easily Broken. Currently, Baldwin works to make a difference as a mentor and parent educator, and continues to pursue his first love, which is acting.

Manouchka Kelly Labouba (moderator) is a researcher and a filmmaker originally from Gabon in Central Africa. As a filmmaker, she made history in her home country with her award-winning 40-minute directorial debut, La Divorce. With that movie, she not only became the first woman to direct a narrative film in Gabon, but also the youngest director, regardless of gender, in Gabonese history. As a researcher, she works at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, where she is part of the curatorial teams developing the exhibitions Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971 and Director's Inspiration: Agnès Varda, and Boyz n the Hood. A part-time film instructor, she holds a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from USC and an MA in Arts from the University of Bordeaux (France).

For the latest updates on this event, visit the School of Cinematic Arts website.

Related Events:
ohn Singleton: A Celebration – Boyz n the Hood
Friday, September 9, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Norris Cinema Theatre
For more info, click HERE

John Singleton: A Celebration – Poetic Justice
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
For more info, click HERE

John Singleton: A Celebration – Rosewood
Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
For more info, click HERE

John Singleton: A Celebration – Shaft
Friday, November 30, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Ray Stark Family Theatre
For more info, click HERE

John Singleton: A Celebration – Baby Boy
Friday, January  23, 2023, at 7 p.m.
Ray Stark Family Theatre
For more info, click HERE

Presented by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC African American Cinema Society, and USC Visions and Voices.

Event Type

Arts, Film Screening


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Neighbors


University Park Campus


Cinematic Arts


Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
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