Jamie Foxx | Interview
After kissing Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx sets his sights on Oprah.
A poster child for Hollywood’s beloved trajectory from comedian to dramatic actor, Jamie Foxx went from ugly-chick Wanda in the early-’90s sketch show In Living Color to double Oscar nominee for Collateral and Ray in 2004. He took home the golden guy for his depiction of Ray Charles. Through it all, Foxx pursued his music. On August 1, he performs at the Arie Crown Theater in support of his third album, Intuition.
Time Out Chicago: In your previous tours, you had a few panties thrown on stage?
Jamie Foxx: [Laughs] Granny panties.
TOC: Surely not.
Jamie Foxx: When we really pay attention to the love music, it is a grabber. It’s a place we go. This is one tour where anything can happen and anything goes.
TOC: Your “Blame It” video has Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson…and Ron Howard. Which of these is not like the others?
Jamie Foxx: We were at the inauguration where Barack was speaking eloquently, and I looked over at Ron Howard. We were caught up in the same moment. I asked him would he do the video; he said yes. “Blame It” was a ’hood hit, a straight urban smash, but having Ron in the video, that’s what made the song go pop.
TOC: Impression of the inauguration?
Jamie Foxx: The togetherness that you’d never felt. When Barack spoke [In Obama’s measured tones], “If there’s any doubt that America, now the most incredible, uh, country in the world, and look, it’s, uh, it’s gonna be tough—”
TOC: That’s uncanny—are you auditioning to play Barack?
Jamie Foxx: No, but you know what? I’ve put a challenge out there for anybody to try to beat me doing Barack. I’ve been trying to perfect it for the longest.
TOC: That “Blame It” video—the women, the clubbing—how true is that to a night with Jamie Foxx?
Jamie Foxx: In my younger years, it was really the thing, like I had to get out and experience. Now in my community in Westlake, we have more wine now as opposed to the Champagne, better conversation. Partying is a maximum, a necessity. However you party, you gotta express your party muscle.
TOC: Of course, I have to ask you about the kiss.
Jamie Foxx: [Laughs]
TOC: You know what I’m talking about.
Jamie Foxx: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah: Halle Berry.
TOC: You’ve explained it was her joke: Adrien Brody kissed her at the Oscars, then she kissed you at the Spike Awards. But it seemed like a lengthy kiss just to make a joke, no?
Jamie Foxx: Uh, well, I’m not gonna stand in the way of what Miss Halle Berry wants. I’m the envy of every man in the world.
TOC: So it’s your turn to pass the joke on: Who would you like to lip-lock at an awards show?
Jamie Foxx: Oprah Winfrey.
TOC: You didn’t even hesitate.
Jamie Foxx: I’m already thinking about it. I just love her. I don’t know how to even explain it.
TOC: It looks like you might play Mike Tyson in a biopic. Would you hang out with him, study him up close?
Jamie Foxx: Well, I’ve known Mike for years. I used to be the only comedian in the clubs brave enough to do the Mike Tyson impersonation in front of Mike Tyson. And the only reason is because he allowed me to. He said [In Tyson’s high pitch], “Yeah, you can do it this time.” Especially at that time, man, he was knocking people out in two seconds.
TOC: Speaking of Oprah, you once told her that, while growing up in Terrell, Texas, you were called the N word almost every day.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah, it was some of that, but even with a racially charged city, there were great white people and black people and Hispanics and Asians that made sure that, in spite of that craziness, I was able to get a great education, get a good sense of what life was about. And some of that name calling got me thick skinned. My grandmother taught me to be able to go on the other side of the tracks and break down those boundaries.
TOC: So you were literally on the other side of the tracks.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah, people don’t realize Southern cities were built with railroad tracks in the middle of them. If there was civil unrest, they would connect the trains. On one side was all of your resources—gas, food, electric—and the other side would be cut off. But now when I go back, those tracks are just another place.
TOC: Which would you rather have: a first Grammy or a second Oscar?
Jamie Foxx: First Grammy. My grandmother taught me the piano as a kid, and I went to college on a classical piano scholarship. Aw, that would be a knockout.
Jamie Foxx plays the Arie Crown Theater August 1 at 8pm.