Jamie Foxx worked his way up in Hollywood with mentors like Keenan Ivory Wayans on In Living Color. Foxx became a movie star, an Oscar winner and recording artist throughout his career. Now he wants to give back to the next generation. His voice role in Pixar’s Soul reminded Foxx of the advice he once gave the likes of Michael B. Jordan and the late Chadwick Boseman.
Foxx spoke at a Zoom press conference for Soul. Since he plays the mentor to an unborn soul, 22 (Tina Fey), Foxx recalled his own mentorship. Soul is now streaming on Disney+.
‘Soul’ star Jamie Foxx remembered his mentors
Foxx already wanted to make music when he was on In Living Color, and he did drop his first album in 1994. Even back then, Foxx relied on his mentors to help him break out of the box executives wanted to keep him in.
“I remember being on In Living Color,” Foxx said. “And I remember being-being told by an executive, ‘Foxx, stick to the jokes, man. You ain’t gonna be able to do all this singing’ because I was always singing in my dressing room. And I remember Tommy Davidson getting my back. ‘No, he should do everything.’”
Now, actors like Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman look up to him
Jordan and Boseman were coming up around the same time on Friday Night Lights and in 42 respectively. By that point in the 2010s, Foxx was a heavy hitter in the industry and he wanted to give back to their generation.
“What I tell them is do not fatigue,” Foxx said. ‘Do not lay your art to the side. When I talked to Michael B. Jordan or I talked to Chadwick, I talked to everybody from Chris Brown to everybody that comes in my house. I just say, ‘Hey, man, the opportunity is so wide open now You have to take advantage of it.”
Foxx elaborated on what he meant. He was seeing the potential in the new formats that emerged since the beginning of his own career.
“I think about all of the different platforms,” Foxx said. “They didn’t have no platforms when we was coming up. I remember getting to LA and just, I was on Sunset Boulevard like, okay. Thee was no FaceTimebook, Snapcrack, nothing. Now, you have it all. So, sometimes the artist, sort of, leans back and relies on just the social platform as opposed to pushing their art.”
Jamie Foxx has faith in the next generation
Foxx remembers the other artists who emerged with him in the ’90s. He’s hopeful this generation can make at least as much of an impact.
“Where is the young kid, under 30, that we’re looking at that was Larenz Tate?” Foxx said. “Where is the young girl, under 30, the Halle [Berry]. Where are all of these? So, I will continuously tell the young artist, ‘Man, this is the best time because somebody is gonna see you if you stay at it.”
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