Oscar award winner Jamie Foxx has turned over a new leaf, and is marveling in his successes and accomplishments. The Texas born actor/singer started off as a stand-up comedian, and his career flourished as his colorful impersonations and lively personality captured fans. The nation got a taste of Foxx when he joined the cast of the hit show In Living Color during its third season, and hes been unstoppable ever since.
After starring in his own self-titled television series in 1996, Jamie went on to star in the blockbuster big-screen hit Any Given Sunday in 1999. The major film feature was Foxxs gateway into what has proven to be a lucrative acting career. In 2005, Foxx made history as he accepted a Best Actor Oscar for his dynamic portrayal of Ray Charles in the movie Ray.
On the music side of things, Jamie released his first solo album, Peep This, in 1994. While the album garnered praise from music critics, Jamie waited over a decade to release his second album. His appearances on Number One hits, Twistas Slow Jamz and Kanye Wests Gold Digger, brought him solidly back into the music scene and set the platform for his own Grammy-nominated J Records debut, Unpredictable.
We caught up with the entertainment giant to take a stroll down memory lane, get the scoop on some of his upcoming projects and discuss life in the fast lane.
AHHA: Many speculate about the success and recognition of Black actors in roles degrading our people. You seem to have reached success without compromising your integrity. Does that make you proud?
Jamie Foxx: I think what it is, is that Black people in situation where we’ve endured 500 years of slavery – so we have these negative images of ourselves. If Jim Carrey does anything in any type of role its funny – he doesn’t lose anything. But if a Black person plays a particular role, it’s like people think it’s setting us back. Ice Cube made an excellent statement once. He said, “We need to make money on our own stereotypes and not worry about the opinions of white America.” Art imitates life, and in life there are undercover cops, there are Ray Charles’. Completely positive characters are boring, that’s not real. Oscars recognize all movies about characters, many of which are flawed. So we just need to recognize that.
AHHA: You have a new movie Dreamgirls, with Beyonce. Tell me about your character, Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Jamie: Beyonce killed it. All respect to Jay-Z, but she killed it. She nailed the hell out of the acting, and when she opens her mouth it’s just incredible.
AHHA: That seems to be the general consensus among men, but what about your role?
Jamie: I play the typical asshole record executive. [laughs] Im laughing because my exec is sitting right next to me. [To his record executive] Sorry man. But nah, I drew off a lot of experiences I am going through now. I’ve seen how music execs work today, and I told producers I needed the edge like them. He wants music and things to work, down the line loses his soul, and he’s just in a fight to get everything together.
AHHA: What was it like working with such a large groups of talented Black actors [Danny Glover, Eddie Murphy, Beyonce Knowles]?
Jamie: Incredible! See all those Black people and they rich, just rich. Eddie Murphy, rich. Danny Glover, just rich. But they’re rich and still hungry to do something good. That’s what’s so great. And I mean, you know it’s going to do well at the box office so
AHHA: Do you miss doing improv, or do your movie roles often require a lot of improvisation?
Jamie: Yeah we put all of that in there. We try to do a little improv to get a better feel of the character, similar to Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and significant comedic actors like that.
AHHA: I hear Tom Cruise asked you to be an uncle to his newborn baby Suri. What kind of relationship do you guys have outside of the business realm?
Jamie: Nah everyone keeps saying that. Me and Tom are cool, but that isn’t true.
AHHA: Youve been on the music scene for a while. And now 12 years and an Oscar later, you’re finally being recognized for your musical genius. Do you feel your recent Academy Award has contributed to your success as an R&B artist?
Jamie: It was everything. It’s like before that defining point it was like, Hes a cool dude, funny.” But when that happened we created a lane for ourselves. We were able to do movies, music and whatever else we wanted to do. Without the Oscar, I probably wouldn’t have gotten with J Records, and Unpredictable and Gold Digger wouldn’t have been so big. Everything the movie Ray did was great, but what it did as far as the business side of my life was even greater.
AHHA: You are only the fourth person in history to have scored both a Number One album and an Academy Award [the other three are Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Bing Crosby]. What’s life like with those types of accomplishments under your belt?
Jamie: Its a whole lot of leverage in the club that’s for sure. When I holla at the girls you know I’m like, “I have an Oscar and a number one album.” But seriously, from the level of just wanting to show people that that is a blueprint for other artists to follow, those like Terrence Howard, Queen Latifah, etcetera – and it helps you in the business, when you’re trying to get TV deals and what not. But you just don’t let it change you, you know.
AHHA: Looking back, do you feel it was necessary to change your name from Eric Bishop to Jaime Foxx?
Jamie: It worked – maybe not necessary. Process of being stand up comic was just looking name on sheet without even seeing your face. And the females usually got called more readily than guys. So I would start putting unisex names down like Tracy, Jamie, etcetera, and Jamie worked so we just rolled with it.
AHHA: You seem to be enjoying the single life these days since you arent seriously dating anyone anymore?
Jamie: Dating? I wasn’t datin nobody. She was just going to the things with me, that’s it. I called her, said You wanna go to the thing? and we went to the thing. But seriously, I am just chillin.
AHHA: I know you and Kanye have done a lot of work together, prior to the release of your solo album. Is you guys’ relationship still strong, even though you’ve both reached monumental success independently in the music industry?
Jamie: Our relationship is even stronger. I’m telling you…we’re getting ready to shock the world. Don’t want to say anything to jinx it. It’s huge though. You gonna be like, “That n***a told me.”