Jamie Foxx at Trayvon Martin Remembrance Event on February 8, 2014 in Miami Gardens, FL (Sheryl Huggins Salomon)
Yes, Jamie Foxx is known as an award-winning actor and a singer, but his origins as a comedian come through in his impersonations, from President Obama, to Prince to his recent one of Richard Sherman.
But Saturday in the Carol City area of Miami Gardens, FL, where NewsOne was on the scene, the particular impersonation he did related to his growing passion for activism. In front of hundreds gathered after a peace walk organized by the parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin (who would have been 19 this past February 5 had he lived) Foxx broke out the uniquely gravely voice of activist and singer Harry Belafonte. He did it while recounting how the civil rights great had inspired him to leverage his fame to fight for what’s right. After coming home from WWII, “‘I couldn’t vote. I didn’t have any rights. So myself, Julian, Jesse, Martin, we marched,'” Foxx recalled Belafonte telling him, adding, “And I said, hold on Mr. Belafonte, you’re saying [those names] like it’s a boy band group.”
Listen below starting at the 2:55 mark to hear if he did Belfonte justice. Belafonte’s daughter Gina, who was in attendance, appeared to be just as amused as the rest of the crowd.
In addition to Trayvon Martin’s family (including father Tracy Martin, mother Sybrina Fulton, and brother Jahvaris Fulton) others seated on the stage and in the audience had the common cause of seeking justice in headline-making legal cases. They included parents of Kendrick Johnson, who died after being found in a gym mat; the ex-wife of Marlon Brown, who died underneath a police cruiser; as well as relatives of Oscar Grant (whose death was depicted in “Fruitvale Station”) and Emmett Till, whose 1955 lynching shocked a nation. Radio personality Michael Baisden also addressed the crowd, as did attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the families of Martin, Johnson and Brown.
Foxx, who later invited all of them to speak during an afternoon taping of his Sirius radio show, “The Foxxhole,” closed his Belafonte anecdote by affirming his support of Martin’s family and their work promoting the well-being of young people. “[Belafonte] said to me, are you going to be young and fly, or are you going to do something? And what I’ve done pales in comparison with what he did. But Tracy, Sybrina, Javaris — I told them — ‘You’ve got me for life.'”
Sunday evening, Foxx, Baisden and Michael Eric Dyson will be among the honorees at a Trayvon Martin Remembrance Dinner in Davies, FL near Miami. The proceeds will be for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.