October 23, 2005,
Director John Singleton was presented with the 2005 DaimlerChrysler "Behind the Lens" award at a star-studded awards luncheon in California held Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. Singleton and approximately 350 guests attended the awards brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel in recognition of his accomplishments as a writer, director and producer of feature films, which helped provide platforms for change in the depiction of African American stories on the screen. In addition to the award, DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund donated $25,000 to the Dakar Foundation, a charity chosen by Singleton.
The ceremony was hosted by NPR’s Ed Gordon and MTV’s Alisha Davis, and featured a special musical performance by Tyrese, who recently starred in Singleton’s “Four Brothers.” Other participants of the show included Daily Variety’s Peter Bart, who led a one-on-one intimate “behind the scenes” Q&A with Singleton about his career and the "Behind the Lens" award.
“This is an amazing feeling to be recognized by your peers and those outside of the industry,” said Singleton. “With great gratitude, I accept this award and thank DaimlerChrysler not only for supporting my work, but also for continuing its efforts to acknowledge the efforts of those behind the scenes.”
Attendees of the event included Forrest Whittaker, Bill Duke, Vanessa Bell Callaway, Vanessa Williams, Megan Good, Rockmond Dunbar, Gabrielle Casseus and many whom have appeared in Singleton’s films in front of and behind the lens including Nia Long, Taraji Henso, Roger Guenveur Smith, Sofia Vergara Fatima, Elise Neal, casting veteran Robi Reed and many others.
“Throughout his career, John Singleton has distinguished himself as a cutting edge storyteller with the ability to uplift people through his filmmaking.” said Frank Fountain, DaimlerChrysler Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy (Auburn Hills) and President of the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. “His unparalleled commitment to these stories, and to the young talent who have brought them to life, is a measure few are able to reach in their distinguished careers.
“Whether playing out his role as a writer, producer or director, John Singleton has brought his special talent to his craft and inspired many along the way. Recognition of his talent and commitment, like those honored previously honored, is why 'Behind the Lens' was created.”
The “Behind the Lens” Award was established in 2002 by DaimlerChrysler to recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals who work behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Singleton joins legendary directors Gordon Parks (Shaft) and Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song) and Hollywood casting veteran Reuben Cannon in being recognized with this prestigious award.
“To be among such film legends is extremely humbling for me because all of the previous Behind the Lens honorees paved the way for me and so many others," Singleton added.
Fountain also presented a $25,000 check to the Dakar Foundation, which was established in 1992 to provide educational opportunities for elementary school children. Since that time, it has grown to also include college scholarships and a means to help support the continued education of any student who demonstrates self-determination, creativity and community involvement.
“I thank the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund for working diligently to help fund programs that focus on education and the youth of our nation,” said Singleton.