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Jamie Foxx Represents for Trayvon Martin Everywhere He Goes

dfpodfpodfpoby Dr. Boyce Watkins

Jamie Foxx is apparently more than just an actor, singer, comedian and concert pianist.   He is also a righteous activist who cares about the black community.  Jamie sat as a star among stars at the BET Awards, and could have worn anything.   He could have went out and bought some expensive and worthless outfit from some random Italian designer who hates black people.  He also could have dressed in a manner befitting the image of the typical black male Hollywood buffoon.  But instead, he turned himself into a public figure that actually means something to the world around him.

Jamie was seen at the BET Awards (a controversial gathering spot when it comes to value added to black America) wearing a t-shirt sporting the face of the late Trayvon Martin.  This isn’t the first time Jamie has appeared in public with Trayvon’s image in tow, he also did it at the Oscars.  I’m sure that, every time Jamie takes a stand for something positive, there’s someone in his ear whispering about how much money he might lose by appearing to be a “controversial negro.”  This unfortunately fills our black entertainment space with a pile of millionaire slave puppets who are afraid of their own shadow.

But when you stop and let your brain breathe for a second, you might notice something:  When you’ve got as much money as Jamie Foxx, you really don’t have to fold for anybody.  Even if Jamie never made another film or album for the rest of his life, he would still have enough wealth to give to his grandchildren’s grandchildren.  So, the point is that it doesn’t make sense for wealthy celebrities to be afraid to do what they know is right.  As a finance professor, I can tell you that money can either liberate or enslave you:  For some, gaining access to wealth only makes them that much more afraid of losing it.

God bless Jamie Foxx.  He stands as a beacon of hope in a world where too many black celebrities define themselves by the value of their car, their clothes and the house that belongs to the bank.  We’ve gotten to the point where we falsely believe that greed is good, and standing up for what is right makes you look stupid, old-fashioned and uninteresting.  But Jamie is smart enough to get it, and it seems that Kanye West is starting to understand this too.

I was also happy to see that Jamie was one of the first to sign the open letter asking the White House to stand up against the mass incarceration epidemic written by myself and Russell Simmons.  This initiative led me to gain a tremendous amount of respect for Russell, who actually does care about the fact that so many of our doctors, lawyers and professors are rotting away in prison, some for non-violent, first-time offenses (see the case of Sharanda Jones as an example).  The power of the black celebrity is so awesomely intimidating that there are forces which seek to control it at any cost.  We must let this beast out of the proverbial cage.

Maybe other celebs will take a note from Jamie and realize that power of this magnitude is not meant to be wasted.  It’s not meant to be used for selfish purposes, and true liberation only comes with the willingness to engage in meaningful struggle.  Ultimately, celebrity power is a gift from God for you to share with the world to uplift those who’ve carried you, both past and present.  In other words, it’s not about clockin dollars and being famous.  It’s about putting in that work for the community.   The greatest celebrity of all-time was Muhammad Ali, and it wasn’t just because he happened to be a great boxer….instead, it was because he was a great FIGHTER.

Good job Jamie, I’m proud of you.  You’re on your way to becoming a legend.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the lecture series, “The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment.”  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.






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