JAMIE FOXX: Put it this way: I completely understand what you’re saying. ‘Cause as black folks we’re always sensitive. As a black person it’s always racial. I come into this place to do a photo shoot and they got Ritz crackers and cheese. I’ll be like, ain’t this a bitch. Y’all didn’t know black people was coming. What’s with all this white shit? By the same token, if there is fried chicken and watermelon I’ll say ain’t this a bitch? So, no matter what we do as black people it’s always gonna be that. Every single thing in my life is built around race. I don’t necessarily speak it because you can’t. But the 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.
DICAPRIO: Thomas, Julian and Greg?
VIBE: Those are white people.
FOXX: No some of those people are black. But when I get home my other homies are like how was your day? Well, I only had to be white for at least eight hours today, [or] I only had to be white for four hours. Everything we do is that. When you’re talking about the script, of course it’s going to be controversy. I remember talking to Tyler Perry about it. [In Perry’s very serious voice] ‘‘Ah man, the script, man. Have you read it?” When I finally read it, I called Tyler and we had a conversation. I said, ‘‘I got a different take on it than you did.” And we shared. And I called Tyler while we were shooting it. I said, ‘‘Do you know that Quentin Tarantino knows all of your shit on TV. I don’t even watch all of your shit.” He said, ‘‘Really?” The difference is the Quentin Tarantino Effect. I ran into Spike Lee at the BET Awards. You know Spike, he’ll let you have it whether it’s good, bad or ugly. And he said, ‘‘I’m not going to say anything bad about this film. It looks like y’all are getting it.
So, first of all, yup, I suppose we could just say that double consciousness prevails. You’ll find black folks, no matter what socio-economic level you’re on, saying similar things about having to put on a different face in the professional (read: white man’s) world than you wear when you’re around your people (some of your people anyway). But one thing I often wonder when I read or hear about how different we are across racial lines, is if we’re actually increasing the divide, and polarizing the climate when it comes to issues of identity, with what are in effect generalizations about groups of people.
I eat Ritz crackers and cheese, and I hate fried anything, so I most definitely don’t eat fried chicken; but I will drink a smoothie with watermelon as one of the ingredients. Oh, and I’m not much of a dancer either, nor am I a fast runner; but I do love old school hip-hop, however on some days I’ll relax to some Tchaikovsky.
Not to diminish the fact that once I walk out my door today, the world around me will constantly make sure that I remember that I’m black – something I’m already very well aware of, mind you. I just wonder if maybe we sometimes assume a burden, as Jamie Foxx suggests, that really isn’t there. And no, the burden I’m talking about isn’t *blackness*, but instead the burden which seems to dictate that we routinely react to the world around us in a racial context, even when there may not any.
Am I making sense?
Secondly, I didn’t know that Jamie Foxx and Tyler Perry were that close, that he’d actually call Tyler up for his input on a script, or a role. That’s interesting. And from what he said about Tyler’s reaction to the script, it appears that (at least I think we can infer that) Tyler wasn’t too pleased with it. And also interesting is that it seems like Spike Lee gave his approval, which I thought was kind of surprising. I would’ve thought that, between the two, Tyler would’ve given his blessing, and Spike wouldn’t have been too pleased with it.
The rest of the interview can be read HERE.