Jamie Foxx Plans to Share Details of His Medical Emergency: ‘I’m Gonna Do It in a Funny Way’ on Stage

Rexa Vella

Jamie Foxx Plans to Share Details of His Medical Emergency: ‘I’m Gonna Do It in a Funny Way’ on Stage

Whenever Jamie Foxx steps up to a microphone, one can expect to be entertained.

And that’s precisely what the Oscar and Grammy-winning superstar plans to do when he hits the road to discuss the circumstances around his sudden hospitalization nearly a year ago.

On Sunday afternoon, Foxx offered attendees of the African American Film Critics Association’s (AAFCA) Special Achievement Awards luncheon a sneak peek at the tone of that material — a mix of heartfelt reflection with some top-notch zingers — while accepting AAFCA’s Producers Award alongside his Foxxhole Productions partner Datari Turner.

2023 was a big year for the company thanks to the back-to-back successes of Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone” and Amazon’s “The Burial.” But while Foxxhole’s movies were shooting to the top of the streaming charts, Foxx was fighting for his life after suffering a medical emergency — the nature of which has not been disclosed.

“Everybody wants to know what happened, and I’m going to tell you what happened. But I’ve gotta do it in my way,” Foxx said. “I’m gonna do it in a funny way. We’re gonna be on the stage. We’re gonna get back to the standup sort of roots.”

“It’ll be called, ‘What Had Happened Was,’ and it’s got all the things that happened, especially on our side of our community,” he said, joking about the online rumors that the “Jamie Foxx” sightings after his hospitalization weren’t, in fact, him. “I dove out of a car to save this Black woman’s purse,” he recalled. “That ain’t no damn Jamie, that’s a clone.” (Spoiler alert: it was him.)

Last December, Foxx made his first public appearance at the Critics Choice Association’s special celebration of Black, Latino and AAPI achievements, where he surprised guests by taking the stage to accept the Vanguard Award. Then, in January, he rejoined Cameron Diaz on the set of “Back in Action,” opposite Cameron Diaz and he is heading back to co-host Fox’s “Beat Shazam” with his daughter Corinne Foxx. And on Sunday afternoon, he and Turner appeared alongside fellow honorees — filmmaker Deon Taylor, choreographer Fatima Robinson, the creative team behind “Killers of the Flower Moon” and the family of the late social justice campaigner Michael Latt — at the invite-only luncheon held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown L.A.

After what he’s been through over the past year, Foxx said he sees life differently.

“I’m so thankful. And I just get emotional. Because it was really… it’s beyond the scope. Cherish life. I have some people in my life that really made sure I was here because it was dire straits,” Foxx said, throwing in a joke that he’s almost too thankful for everything nowadays (or at least his daughter thinks so). “I was drinking some water, like ‘Wow, you taste this water? It’s so wet. This is the wettest water’ [and she replied,] ‘Dad, you’ve gotta chill out.’”

Foxx seemed back in top form at the event, riling up the crowd well before it was time to accept his award. From his seat at the center of the ballroom, Foxx urged presenter Tyrese Gibson to sing a few bars of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Onstage, Foxx explained that he’d pushed for the impromptu serenade because “you just don’t know” what tomorrow holds and his recent experiences have changed the way he looks at the entertainment business too.

“We should be so enthused to be in this business of playing make believe – at its highest level,” Foxx said. “But it’s still those moments when you were in the mirror and you were acting like you were Billy Dee Williams. … Now that we’re here, it seems bigger than what it actually is because there’s a lot that goes along with it. But at the core of it, it is us [playing] make believe, putting smiles on people’s faces, and it is our art. And art is subjective.”

Of course, the stakes are higher for Black creatives, with Foxx sharing how he learned to navigate the business while working on “In Living Color” under Keenan Ivory Wayans.

“I learned that Black could be excellent,” he said, explaining the impact seeing an all-Black creative team — from the writing staff to craft services — had on him as he went on to create “The Jamie Foxx Show.”

Moreover, throughout his career, Foxx has learned how imperative it is to call out that excellence, sharing that during the Oscar campaign for “Ray,” there were conversations about whether he was saying “Black” too much in his acceptance speeches.

His response: “We’re gonna call it a Black story. Not for just the reason of being Black. It’s business. If this Black story wins the Oscar, what does it do for the next Black story that comes along?”

That’s also the purpose of events like 7th annual AAFCA luncheon and the 15th annual AAFCA Awards, which were held just 12 days prior, both saluting entertainers, filmmakers, activists, innovators and coalition builders and spotlighting Black excellence in the arts.

The AAFCA Awards — held on Feb. 21 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills — celebrated the year’s best films, with Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction” and the Oprah Winfrey-produced musical reimagining of “The Color Purple” leading with four wins apiece, including prizes for best film and best musical, respectively. Ava DuVernay‘s “Origin” took home three trophies.

Individual winners also included Colman Domingo (actor), Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (actress), Sterling K. Brown (supporting actor), Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Danielle Brooks (in a tie for supporting actress), Lily Gladstone (breakout performance) and Jefferson (emerging filmmaker), while Misty Copeland, George C. Wolfe and Jeffrey Wright accepted special honors.

The ceremony marked was a particularly welcome salute to “Origin,” the masterful adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent,” which had gone largely unheralded this awards season. But DuVernay used her moment in the spotlight to sing the praises of the pioneers who presented her with the trophies — Debbie Allen and Suzanne de Passe.

“Because she’s done all those other things, we forget that this woman is one of the foremothers of Black directors — Black women directors, especially. She did it first, bravely, boldly and beautifully,” DuVernay said of Allen, before listing off her credits, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Fame” and 86 episodes of “A Different World,” which had been particularly formative for DuVernay’s dreams. The same was true about De Passe, who was nominated for an Oscar for the “Lady Sings the Blues” screenplay, among her lengthy list of achievements.

By having those women hand her her awards, a torch was passed and the cycle of progress rolled forward for Black artists.

It’s basically what Foxx would describe in his speech a couple weeks later, but DuVernay effectively summed it up in her remarks too: “‘Origin’ is about a simple idea that everyone matters. What we think and believe matters. Everything we do and say matters. Everything we don’t do matters. The film was about resistance and triumph. So let’s keep resisting so that we can triumph.”

More photos from inside both awards ceremonies below:

“Origin” filmmaker Ava DuVernay poses with Debbie Allen after accepting AAFCA’s best director award on Feb. 21. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

“The After” star David Oyelowo surprises Debbie Allen, Ava DuVernay and AAFCA’s Gil Robertson IV on the red carpet. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

Ryan Michelle Bathé and best supporting actor winner Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”) pose inside the ballroom with supporting actress honoree (and Brown’s cousin!), “The Color Purple” star Danielle Brooks. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

Jessica Betts and “Origin” star Niecy Nash-Betts smile and sparkle over dinner. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

Best actor honoree Colman Domingo (“Rustin”) strikes a stylish pose with presenter Ruth Negga. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

“Rustin” director George C. Wolfe smiles before accepting AAFCA’s legacy award. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Legend Award winner Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”) poses with rising star Kelvin Harrison Jr. — both of whom have portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

Ballet dancer-turned-producer Misty Copeland poses with choreographer Fatima Robinson (“The Color Purple”), who presented her with the Innovator Award. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

“Killers of the Flower Moon’s” Lily Gladstone accepts the breakout performer award. Tommaso Boddi for Variety

Andra Day presents her “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” co-star Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) with the best supporting actress award. Getty Images

AAFCA Producers Award winners Jamie Foxx (center) and Datari Turner (far right) of Foxxhole Productions pose with presenters Courtney B. Vance, Nia Long and Jurnee Smollett at the special achievement awards luncheon on March 3. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Horizon Award winner, filmmaker Deon Taylor (center), poses with presenter Hilary Swank and AAFCA’s Gil Robertson IV. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Fatima Robinson accepts the Salute to Excellence Award. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Meagan Good and Jonathan Majors attend the luncheon. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Presenter Tyrese Gibson takes the stage. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Kat Kramer, Karen Sharpe and Jennifer Kramer present the Kramer social justice award to the “Killers of the Flower Moon” filmmakers. Gilbert Flores for Variety

Delta Airlines’ Ekrem Dimbiloglu and Catherine McDaniel pose with the Film Advocate Award. Gilbert Flores for Variety


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