Academy Award winning actor and Grammy Award winning singer Jamie Foxx is a triple threat when you factor in that he is also an outrageously funny comedian. Even though he can be funny, the Annie actor got a little serious in a conversation with Rolling Out Magazine.
Foxx talked about the struggles of being Black in Hollywood and his recent run in with the police that left a bad taste in his mouth.
The talented performer credits his mentor from early in his career, Keenan Ivory Wayans, who he says taught him a lot, including emphasizing to him that being a Black entertainer meant that you had to be the best at what ever you did. He adds, “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. ”
Foxx also shared that in spite of having many hit songs, he still had a lot of struggles in the music industry as well. He shared a story about how hard it was for him to pitch a song to music executives because they said he was an “urban” artist.
Not one to shy away from a tough conversation, Foxx shared his thoughts about police brutality and added that no matter how “white” you feel, you can still be target by police discrimination. The star even shared that he still gets nervous when the police pull him over.
Foxx related a story about how he was recently driving in his predominantly white neighborhood with his friend,
“I’m driving in my neighborhood, which is predominantly White. And I’m feeling white—I got my top down and my Rolls Royce like ‘Wow, this is a great, white day!’ With my boy … we’re riding down 101 in L.A., chilling [on a] Sunday. All of a sudden, the cops get behind me. And I’m like ‘OK, the cops are behind me, but it’s a great day and I’m really mainstream.’ But he turns his lights on and I’m thinking ‘It couldn’t be me.’ And I actually move over and say ‘Yeah, go get ‘em! Go get those guys’ and he was like ‘It’s you—pull it over!’ and when he yelled at me, he yelled like I was crazy. He talked to me like I wasn’t human.”
According to Foxx, the racism problem in the U.S. as a whole can get better but the problem has to be faced head on. He also added that his observation has been that victims of police brutality, like Eric Garner, tend to be blamed for their own demise.
“We have to have an uncomfortable conversation about race. I know I can say ‘when I see a police officer I get nervous.’ And I’m Jamie Foxx. As soon as they stop me, I tell ‘em, ‘You know I’m panicking. I’m nervous. Tell me what to do.’ But can a police officer say ‘I’m afraid of every Black person I see?’ Or ‘I don’t like that Black person?’ Can we really have that conversation?”