Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx

Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: Georges Biard


  • High-profile celebrity in the film and music industries
  • Supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement
  • “Every single thing in my life is built around race.”


Jamie Foxx was born as Eric Morlon Bishop on December 13, 1967 in Terrell, Texas. But his birth parents, Darrell Bishop and Louise Dixon, were not part of his upbringing. Instead, the mother’s own adoptive parents adopted Jamie as an infant and raised him in the Baptist faith. Eric’s biological father, Darrell Bishop, eventually converted to Islam and changed his name to Shahid Abdula.

After completing high school, Eric studied classical music and composition at United States International University. In 1989 he began performing stand-up routines at comedy clubs. Noticing that those establishments commonly booked female comedians in preference to males, Eric selected the stage name “Jamie” for its androgyny, in hopes of fooling club owners into thinking they were booking a woman. He took the surname “Foxx” in tribute to the legendary comedian Redd Foxx.

Jamie Foxx broke into the television industry in 1991 when he joined the cast of the comedy program In Living Color. He subsequently played a recurring role in the comedy-drama series Roc, and then starred in his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show, which aired on The WB Television Network from 1996-2001.

While gaining acclaim as an actor and radio personality, Foxx also cultivated a career in music. His debut album, Peep This, was released in 1994, but his breakthrough came a decade later when he collaborated on the hit song “Slow Jamz” with rap artists Twista and Kanye West. His subsequent albums were titled Unpredictable (2005), Intuition (2008), and Best Night of My Life (2010).

Foxx also gained fame as a film star, most notably in Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004), Ray (2005); and Django Unchained (2012). He won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award as Best Actor for his role in Ray. For additional details about Foxx’s early years and the development of his professional career, click here, here, and here.

Confrontation with Police

At approximately 4 a.m. one morning in April 2003, Foxx and a female companion, 25-year-old Deidra Dixon, refused to comply with security guards’ request that they show some form of identification as they walked into Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. When the guards persisted in their request, Foxx used profanity and launched into a loud tirade, at which point the guards asked him to leave. When he refused to comply, casino authorities called police. But according to the officers who were dispatched to the scene, Foxx only “became more irate and started yelling profanities.” They arrested Foxx and charged him with trespassing, battery on officers, and resisting arrest. He eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge for disturbing the peace, and was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term with two years’ probation and a $1,500 fine.

Foxx’s Racialist Worldview

On numerous occasions, Foxx, who says that “every single thing in my life is built around race,” has made public statements emphasizing the large role that race plays in his worldview.

In a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey, for instance, Foxx said that “from what I experienced growing up [in Texas],” where he “was called a nigger almost every day,” he “just couldn’t trust whites” thereafter. “In one sense,” he added, “I’m glad I had the experiences that I did in Texas, because now I can spot racism in a way that those who grew up in California cannot. It allowed me to understand the years and years of slave residue that is still with us. In this country, blacks have been treated like second-class citizens.” “I look at the ocean and how big the world is, and I still can’t understand why being black makes some people hate me,” Foxx also told Winfrey during their discussion. At other points in the interview:

  • Foxx described the joy that his black friends felt when he won an Oscar in 2005: “You know how our folks are: When one of us wins, we all just want to celebrate.”
  • He articulated the low regard he once had for white people: “For a long time after I got to L.A.—when I got my paycheck and my swagger—I had a rule: No more than one white dude in my house.”
  • He described the deep contempt that many blacks feel for whites: “When I look at the suffering we just endured in New Orleans [during Hurricane Katrina], here’s what I understand: Even if a cavalry had shown up, some blacks wouldn’t have taken the help. When I visited there after the hurricane, some blacks said to me, ‘We’d rather swim than go anywhere with them [whites].’ That’s the mistrust that still exists. That’s the sickness we carry with us as a country. I’m working on a stand-up piece now about what I call slave residue.”
  • He attributed white people’s racism in large part to their jealousy and insecurity: “Most men want the admiration of women—their smiles, their attention, their interest. That’s why we beat our chests; that’s why we play basketball and football. We want to know how you feel about us. Black men seem to do all the things that women are enamored of effortlessly. So in order for white men to maintain the upper hand, they feel they have to clip our wings. Here’s what scares some white people: We are survivors. Blacks just never go away.”

When hosting the BET Awards ceremony in June 2009, Foxx said the following about the recently deceased pop star Michael Jackson: “We want to celebrate this black man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everybody else.”

In December 2012, Foxx told Vibe magazine: “[A]s black folks we’re always sensitive. As a black person it’s always racial.” He explained, for example, that if he attends a photo shoot where “Ritz crackers and cheese” are served, “I’ll be like, ‘Ain’t this a bitch. Y’all didn’t know black people was coming.’” By the same token, he added, if fried chicken and watermelon were to be served at such an event, he would be annoyed at the stereotype.

While hosting NBC’s Saturday Night Live on December 8, 2012, Foxx said, early in his monologue: “I’m black, and I’m dressed all black cause it’s good to be black. Black is the new white.” He then stated that in his latest film, Django Unchained:

“I play a slave. How black is that?… But don’t be worried about it because I get out [of] the chains, I get free, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that? But I’m going to tell you right now, speaking of blackness, my President, President Obama is back up in the White House four more years. How black is that?… But he going to be extra black this next four years.… he’s even changing his name … to President Barack Dikembe Mutombo Tupac Mandela Hussein Obama X. How black is that?”

In December 2012 as well, Foxx explained that in his profession as an actor, he, as a black man, had to act and talk in a particular, prescribed way around white people: “[T]he minute I leave my house, I gotta put my other jacket on and say, ‘Hey, Thomas, Julian and Greg.’ And I gotta be a certain person. But when I get home, my other homies are like, ‘how was your day?’ [And I answer] ‘Well, I only had to be white for at least eight hours today, [or] I only had to be white for four hours.’”

When he was named “Entertainer of the Year” at the NAACP Image Awards ceremony in February 2013, Foxx said: “Black people are the most talented people in the world.”

At the BET Awards ceremony on June 30, 2013, Foxx wore a T-shirt bearing the image of Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen whose shooting death in 2012 had sparked much controversy over gun control and racial profiling. The trial of George Zimmerman, the man who killed Martin, had begun on June 24, 2013. For details about the Martin-Zimmerman case, click here.

Speaking on August 28, 2013, at the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, Foxx suggested that black entertainers could take the lead in carrying on King’s legacy. “It is time for us to stand up now and renew this dream,” he said, singling out Kanye West and Jay-Z, among others, as individuals who could play important roles in such a mission. Fox also stated that he recently had told his 19-year-old daughter that if she wanted to “get inspired,” she should “come listen” to Harry Belafonte, another featured speaker at the festivities in D.C.

Verbal Fireworks Targeting Miley Cyrus

During an April 2009 episode of The Jamie Foxx Show on Foxxhole Radio, Foxx and his co-hosts—while discussing an incident where teenaged singer Miley Cyrus had publicly complained about being snubbed by the British band Radiohead—delivered a litany of disparaging, profanity-laced jokes regarding Cyrus. While one co-host called her a “little white bitch,” Foxx urged Cyrus: “Make a sex tape and grow up. Get like Britney Spears and do some heroin. Do like Lindsay Lohan and start seeing a lesbian and get some crack in your pipe. Catch chlamydia on a bicycle seat. That’s what I want.”

Adoration for Barack Obama

At the Soul Train Music Awards in November 2012, Foxx, to thunderous applause, walked onto the stage and shouted: “It’s like church in here. First of all, give an honor to God—and our Lord and savior, Barack Obama! Barack Obama!” The audience responded with thunderous cheers, and Foxx urged them to “stand up” in honor of the recently re-elected U.S. president.

Deriding Republicans

On November 16, 2012, Foxx told a reporter that “Republicans don’t take jokes well.” “I’ve performed for George W. Bush and all these guys ’cause I’m from Texas,” he said. “I did a big thing at the [Dallas] Cowboys’ new stadium. You got Bush there, I’m cracking jokes, and I said, ‘Come on, man, you gotta lighten up.’ They don’t take it well because all jokes have a layer of truth.”

Joking about Transgender Bruce Jenner

During his monologue at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 29, 2015, Foxx joked: “We’ve got some groundbreaking performances here, too, tonight. Bruce Jenner will be here doing some musical performances – he’s doing a his-and-her duet all by himself” — a reference to Jenner’s recent announcement that he considered himself transgender.

DNC Fundraiser

On October 10, 2015, Foxx was the special entertainer for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private, undisclosed location in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles. The minimum entry fee for the event was $1,000 per person. But it cost $10,000 to be photographed with the evening’s “special guest,” Barack Obama, and to get prime seating for the concert which was part of the festivities.

Defending Tarantino’s Anti-Police Rhetoric

In October 2015, Foxx stirred controversy when he defended the words and actions of film director Quentin Tarantino, after the latter had spoken at an October 24th Brooklyn rally protesting police brutality. “When I see murders, I do not stand by,” Tarantino told the crowd that day. “I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.” “I’m a human being with a conscience,” added Tarantino, who had flown in from California for the event. “And if you believe there’s murder going on, then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.” Though numerous city police unions as well as the National Association of Police Organizations subsequently declared boycotts against Tarantino’s work, Foxx, at the Hollywood Film Awards on October 31, offered his own personal words of encouragement to the director. “Keep telling the truth, keep speaking the truth and don’t worry about none of the haters,” he said.

Visiting President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela

In October 2016, Foxx and actor/musician Lukas Haas went to Caracas, Venezuela to visit President Nicolas Maduro, where they smiled and posed for photographs with Maduro in the presidential palace in Caracas. Venezuelan state media reported that the purpose of Foxx’s visit was to: (a) “show support for the policies of the [socialist] Bolivarian Government, in particular its social missions,” and (b) “learn about Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission” and attend the signing of an agreement between Venezuela and its allies for the construction of government-funded homes for poor people. “We have given a warm welcome to two actors who are very admired by our people … Thank you for supporting this project, and its vision to add housing as a benefit for the people of the world,” Maduro said on the state-owned VTV.

Supporting the Black Lives Matter Protests After George Floyd’s Death

Foxx is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. At a May 29, 2020 BLM demonstration in Minneapolis protesting the recent death of George Floyd in an altercation with a white policemen, Foxx said: “We’re not afraid to stand, we’re not afraid of the moment. And I think what you saw on television, to watch this man plead for his mother — as I sit with my two daughters, my nephews — what it does is, it over-complicates everything as a black man trying to tell his son or his daughter how to function in life. Even the things that we’ve taught them don’t seem to work, and then there’s this thing of contempt of cop, where it is something simple, and how does it escalate to something like what we have today? All we’re trying to do is ask questions of why.”

On June 2, 2020, Foxx — again to protest the recent death of George Floyd — joined a “kneel in” in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. “I’m not Hollywood,” he said at the event. “I’m just a person, it just happened to be my job.” Later in his remarks, Foxx also urged other Hollywood celebrities to go into the streets to support similar protesters nationwide. “The best way to help out is to just let them see your face,” he stated. “All I want to do is just let you see my face.”

Foxx attended yet another BLM rally in early June of 2020 — this time with his two daughters, aged 26 and 10. He subsequently wrote on an Instagram post: “Having them [the daughters] watch the world come together was beautiful. But having to explain to them why we were all there was heartbreaking.”

Medical Emergency

On April 12, 2023, Foxx’s older daughter, Corinne, announced that her father had been hospitalized due to an unspecified “medical complication” but was recovering.

On May 12, 2023, amid rumors that Foxx was gravely ill, Corinne said that her father had been “out of the hospital for weeks, recuperating.” His treatment reportedly included a stay in a Chicago physical-rehabilitation facility specializing in “strokes and brain injuries.”

On July 22, 2023, Foxx posted a video clip where he said that he had been to “hell and back” vis-a-vis his health scare.

On December 3, 2023, Foxx made his first public appearance since the hospitalization nearly 8 months earlier, to accept a Vangard Award from the Critics Choice Association. In his acceptance speech, he disclosed that he initially had been unable to walk after suffering his medical scare, though he did not disclose exactly what had led to his hospitalization.

Charged with Assault & Battery

In November 2023, Foxx was accused of assault-and-battery for a 2015 incident in which he had allegedly groped a woman in New York City. The complaint said that Foxx had “sli[d] his hands into Plaintiff’s pants and put his fingers on and in Plaintiff’s vagina and anus.”

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