There are few entertainers like Jamie Foxx; he’s a multihyphenate superstar with the trophy case to back it up. Though Foxx has the range and a backlog of dramatic, comedic and generally off-the wall characters to pull from, when it came to voicing Joe Gardner in Disney-Pixar’s “Soul,” the film’s creative team just wanted the Oscar- and Grammy-winner to be himself, which also meant bringing the full breadth of his Blackness to the role.
“In my career, I’ve never had to apologize for being Black,” Foxx tells Variety, looking back on his Hollywood journey. “I was on ‘In Living Color’ — I had a Black boss [Keenan Ivory Wayans, who Foxx touts as a mentor], Black writers, Black creators. Then with ‘The Jamie Foxx Show’ it was all Black. So, I’ve never had to worry about turning my Black up or turning my Black down. I’ve just been me and it is always worked out for me. When I do that, great things come out of it.”
Foxx considers this role one of those “great things:” “For me to be able to say, and be proud to say, [I’m] the first African-American lead in Disney-Pixar, that’s amazing. That feels good.”