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The Ubiquity of Jamie Foxx

Fresh off the success of the Oscar-winning Soul, Jamie Foxx chats with Worth columnist Arick Wierson about his latest projects, his ever-so-brief foray into politics, Mike Tyson and his new partnership with Brown Sugar Bourbon.

Actor, singer, empresario: Jamie Foxx is seemingly everywhere these days, and he’s enjoying every minute of his hard-fought success. Photo by Taylor Chien Actor, singer, empresario: Jamie Foxx is seemingly everywhere these days, and he’s enjoying every minute of his hard-fought success. Photo by Taylor Chien

Jamie Foxx, it seems, is just about everywhere these days.

From Fox network’s Beat Shazam, which he cohosts with his daughter Corinne, and the breakout Netflix series Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! to the much anticipated Mike Tyson biopic, Jamie Foxx is seemingly omnipresent as of late. COVID hasn’t slowed down this Oscar and Grammy Award-winning talent.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Foxx just helped his friend Pete Docter add another Oscar to the family fireplace mantle for his work voicing the character of Joe Gardner, the jazz pianist whose soul separates from his body after falling into an open manhole in the Pixar animated flick Soul. And outside of Hollywood, Foxx recently dipped his toe (albeit his pinky toe) into politics this April when he endorsed, via Instagram, childhood friend Tonya Derrick, who ran for and won a Dallas-area school board seat. And then there’s his new partnership with Brown Sugar Bourbon.

And I’m just scratching the surface of this increasingly ubiquitous actor-cum-singer-cum-brand empresario.

When I had an opportunity to connect with Foxx, I knew my biggest challenge was going to be where to focus. As with most Hollywood A-listers, I could have taken my interview with him in any number of directions, but with my editors at Worth who are fond of reminding me of the famous line from Hamlet“brevity is the soul of wit”—I tried my best to keep my incessable curiosity at bay and the loquacious Foxx on point.

Here goes it.

Editor’s Note: Some of Foxx’s answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Q: Jamie, it’s great meeting you and before we get started, can I just say that of all of your performances that I have seen, nothing comes close to your impression of John Legend singing the Toys “R” Us jingle on The Tonight Show’s Wheel of Musical Impressions.

A: Oh man! Thank you so much. I love Jimmy [Fallon], that’s my guy—he’s the best. It’s always a great time on his show.

A lot of people know Jamie Foxx the actor, Jamie Foxx the comedian and Jamie Foxx the singer, but not everyone knows that music is really your true passion.

Music is my first love. My grandmother, Estelle Marie Talley, always encouraged me to learn to play to get me to the other side of the tracks in Terrell, Texas, where I’m from. She was right; I ended up going to college in San Diego on a classical piano scholarship, and that’s what eventually brought me up to L.A. Music is everything to me, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel my grandma’s presence.

And now you’re all over the place—in a good way.

Yeah man, I’m in Atlanta right now filming, in fact. It’s a Netflix film called Day Shift, and I’m so excited for you to see what we’ve got coming—it’s going to be something special. I also have They Cloned Tyrone for Netflix that I recently shot, which is going to be super dope.

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Congrats on the success of Soul. My kiddos, ages four and seven, loved it. Although some of it certainly went over their heads.

Thank you so much for saying that. I really feel humbled and blessed beyond measure to be part of such a legendary Pixar film. I have to give big ups to the incomparable Pete Docter and Kemp Powers for the incredible journey.

And what a cast.

Beyond my wildest dreams! Honestly amazing. So much talent. Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad and so many others. Plus, the main ingredient to the music of the film, Jon Batiste, who won an Oscar. He’s consistently elevating the artistic game, and his accolades are so well deserved.

Jamie Foxx relaxing with his favorite libation: Brown Sugar Bourbon 103. Photo by Taylor Chien

Now let’s talk politics.

I’m with you, bro.

I mean Dallas politics—specifically Terrell School Board politics and your childhood friend, Tonya Derrick.

Growing up in school in Terrell, Texas…I know I hold onto those values and to those disciplines that I learned to this day.

And your candidate won! Do you think your big-time endorsement catapulted her over the top to victory?

I’ll say this—Tonya Derrick I have known for all my life. She loves Terrell. She loves her family. She loves the Terrell School District. She’s the best candidate for the job.

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What has it been like working with your daughter Corinne on Beat Shazam?

It’s been such a blessing getting to work with my daughter and see how much she’s grown. I’m so proud of her! The fourth season of Beat Shazam premieres on Fox on June 3. We also have a show together on Netflix that is a number one hit—it’s called Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! based on our real-life relationship. And she’s my boss on the show; she’s the executive producer. It was such a surreal moment when we went to visit the billboard on Sunset Boulevard. Dreams really do come true.

And Iron Mike—when do we get to see you put on the signature black shorts?

Oh man, I love Mike. It’s still a way out, but I can’t wait to get to that project.

Most Hollywood people I talk to who have been around since the ‘80s and ‘90s usually have a good Mike Tyson story. What’s yours?

I’ll say this—it’s one of my favorite Mike stories. I’ll never forget when I first started doing stand-up. I was 21, and I was killing L.A. I’m at a club and I get to my Mike Tyson joke, and that’s where I usually get a standing ovation. When I get to the joke, nobody laughs. Nobody! You know why? Because Mike Tyson is in the building. It was crazy because that’s when Mike Tyson was knocking people out for just smiling.

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Did you continue with the bit?

So, I get to that joke and somebody yells, “Mike is in here!” And there’s a girl in the front who says, “What are you gonna do, Jamie? You gonna tell your little joke?” And some dude yells out, “Mike said you could do the joke, but it better be funny.” So, now there’s pressure. I do the joke—I think it was something like Mike Tyson going through the drive-thru at Kentucky Fried Chicken or something like that. The joke goes over, and it’s a standing ovation. Mike comes up to me and taps me on my chest, and my chest caves in. But I knew I connected with him that night.

Let’s talk bourbon.

C’mon, I’m ready.

Brown Sugar Bourbon—how did the partnership begin with the brand?

I was first introduced to Brown Sugar Bourbon at a party—everyone knows I throw the biggest parties!—and I immediately knew it was the right brand for me. It tastes great, it’s affordable and it goes with my personality. When I got involved with BSB, my daughter Corinne, who’s in her 20s, already knew about the brand!

Jamie Foxx opens up to Worth columnist Arick Wierson about life, celebrity and his new bourbon. Photo by Nicholas Maggio

Jamie Foxx opens up to Worth columnist Arick Wierson about life, celebrity and his new bourbon. Photo by Nicholas Maggio

Do you consider yourself a bourbon guy?

I’m a big bourbon guy. With BSB, you can drink it however you want it—you can put it on ice or you can drink it straight.

Nice plug. I’ll do you a solid and put that in the interview.

Everyone’s home bar should be stocked with BSB because it’s everything you need. It’s a drink you can sip and feel good about!

So, what’s your pick BSB or BSB 103 ‘High Altitude’—which, by the way, sounds pretty hard core?

It’s hard to choose because I’m a fan of both! BSB is great for sipping, shots or in a cocktail, but if I really want to turn up, I’ll have a glass of BSB 103 on ice. Both are super smooth with just the right amount of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Jamie Foxx, 103-proof bourbon and Iron Mike, that’s a dangerous combination!

You can bet on that!

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