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Jamie Foxx on race, Hollywood, and facing the truth about police brutality

cover_Jamie Foxx_webJamie Foxx’s early career was defined by the kind of false starts that derailed many of his contemporaries in their attempts to ascend the Hollywood ladder. Not many Black comedic actors could’ve survived box-office bombs like Bait and Held Up. For most, a moderately successful sitcom like “The Jamie Foxx Show” would’ve been a professional peak (looking at you, Mark Curry). For Foxx, it’s all now little more than a footnote to a stellar Hollywood career. I met up with Foxx at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo to talk about that career; and with protests looming in the background and his highly anticipated Annie remake on the horizon, the wisecracker from Terrell, Texas, was understandably thinking about race as it pertains to his career, success and the world around us.

“Keenan Ivory Wayans taught me a lot of s—” Foxx recalls, before relaying the best advice the eldest Wayans star gave him. “Whatever you do — as an African American entertainer, you’ve got to be the best at it. We don’t settle for mediocre. Being on ‘In Living Color’ gave me the DNA and the work ethic to get things done. When you talk about the struggles of Black Hollywood, there was always a struggle. They would always pick one. In the ’60s, there was Redd Foxx. Seventies, it was Richard Pryor. Eighties, it was just Eddie Murphy. [But in the] ’90s? ‘In Living Color,’ the Wayans [family], [Chris] Rock, the Kings of Comedy, Chris Tucker, Kevin Hart, [Dave] Chappelle — there [are] a lot of people on the comedy side really flourishing now. Things are opening up and I know Chris Rock did a great article about the struggles of it, but also the hope at the end of it; because if you look at Tyler Perry, he’s doing his own thing,” Foxx explains.

“Although it’s still a struggle, we’re headed in, I think, a great direction. If you look at the movies that are being made now … [and actors like] Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, these dudes are coming. Now it’s time for people like myself, who’ve been in it for a while, to make sure we turn around and make sure we support them and give them the opportunity to keep moving things along,” he says.

It’s not that Foxx hasn’t had his own career obstructions. 

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3 Comments

  1. britishrose on December 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    NAILED IT JAMIE… THAT IS THE ONE QUESTION .. we all been dancing around expecially whites , why is it that colorado movie shooter got to his car and was able to freeze an put his hands up but mike brown was merely walking in the street like kids do , and garner selling loose cigarettes like the white staten island man wen to jail for .. its a hustle on the street just like people selling spin off purses , or old cds. no one deserve to die for selling something they oviously purchased and want to resell , if you want to call it , unlawful then ticket him . period garner should not be dead ., brown should not be dead ., its a public out cry because even non racist whites and even some racist whites dont want this kind of blood shed , in our country . jamie is right , white cops dont see the issue , they need to talk about their racism and why it mix should not exist on a work platform ,if you go on any other job and someone proves your are racist by mistreating black employees your fired , or layed off .. its not hard to prove if a few blacks go to administaration and complain that there is racism from an employee manager etc .. they will get rid of you.. if they dont they racist as you are .. THANK YOU JAMIE FOX .. FOR THAT INSIGHT SICK OF THE SO CALL SMART HARVARD BLACK MEN COLLEGE EDUCATED WHITE COLLARS .. IN THESE ARTICLES BLAMING THE BLACK RACE ON ALL THIS … ITS NOT OUR FAULT THAT RACISM IS PART OF AMERICAN FABRIC … ITS JUST TO SAD

  2. anonymous on December 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    As a black male with a middle class upbringing. I have had multiple run-ins with the law (every case involves a car and speeding). The truth (through my eyes) is that everyone continues to see this as racism instead of making a judgement based on stereo types.
    It is entirely possible that the officers feel more threatened by black males than by any other person. Does it suck? Absolutely. But that is the truth. And in the end, if the question in the officer’s mind is “do i risk my safety, or use excessive force”, they would usually choose the latter.
    While i am not saying that choosing excessive force is the right call and the officers in question should definitely face some consequence, the ‘victims’ also need to burden some of the blame.
    Resisting arrest (regardless of if the arrest is just or not), is a crime. Maybe if Eric Garner said “I’ve done nothing wrong, but let’s go to the station and sort this out”, things would have been much different.
    Michael Brown just burglarizing a place and assaulting a store clerk, and then wouldn’t heed the officer’s warnings when asked to get off the street.
    In the end, if you are dealing with the cops (black or white) just follow their instructions and give them absolutely no reason to use force, because if you are right or wrong, when you are in the morgue, it really doesn’t matter (to you)

    • Nigg.Newton on December 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Okay, so you agree to being a YES sir mo Tea, Black Man…