When Jamie Foxx talks about parenthood, he makes sense because he learned from the best!
Everyone knows Jamie Foxx, the actor who an Oscar for his portrayal of musical genius Ray Charles; he fought Spider-Man multiple times, played the US President, and even drove Tom Cruise around town in a cab. What many don’t know is that the Academy Award winner is also a parent of two girls, who have taught him a lot of things in life. In Act Like You Got Some Sense: And Other Things My Daughters Taught Me, he hilariously takes a candid look at the highs and lows of being a father, and how it has helped him grow as a person.
No, this isn’t a book about good parenting skills or revolves around the rules a father must follow when his daughter brings home a date from college. This is about Eric Marlon Bishop’s journey, who went on from a kid who earned three hundred dollars while playing the piano at the Church to one of the most celebrated actors in the world – Jamie Foxx. How this journey was shaped is one part of this book, the other is how he was able to shape his kids’ life because of his life experience!
The Django actor’s accomplishments are so huge that he could have gone for an autobiography like Will Smith did, which discusses his past, present, and future but then that book wouldn’t have had the Jamie Foxx touch, right? In this book, he does talk about himself but in a manner that’s witty, serious, and without any filters, like talking to a friend over a cup of coffee. He addresses the reader instead of the readers getting to know him and that’s what makes it an interesting, witty read.
In an effort to include his own perspective in the book, he goes back and forth to tell the audience how things were different back when he was growing up in his grandmother’s house (whom he thought was his mother!) back in Terrel, Texas, and the current era where kids can have everything in life. He uses the past to discuss the joys and pitfalls of being the father of two daughters, which is an incredible way of connecting with the audience, no matter who they are or where they are.
He reveals to the audience that his biological father left his young mother and converted to Islam leaving them high and dry, that he connected more with his stepfather than his own mother who was never there, that his grandfather used to beat him for being disrespectful, and that whatever he is today is because of his grandmother who was his mother’s relative, and not her biological mother. The book could be mistaken for a tribute to his Granny named Estelle Marie Talley who adopted his mother when she was young and later adopted Jamie Foxx, making it a very confusing relationship. The actor talks more about her in these pages than himself and even dedicates this book to her, showing his love, respect, and gratitude to her.
Despite Jamie’s rocky nurturing, he managed to make it to the top and the readers would expect that this book would talk about that, but it doesn’t, directly. In fact, it consists of those priceless stories that instilled everything from the fear of God, the importance of leading than following and other old-school values that modern-day kids might not even know about. He explains how it was his Granny who made him learn piano that helped him win an Oscar, how she saved him when he first found himself on the other side of a gun, and how she helped him out when his first car was towed away due to outstanding parking tickets, besides other things.
People in this part of the world would love this book because most of the stuff Jamie Foxx’s Granny did would remind them of their own grandparents. However, the way he writes it is just too good to resist because it is like a script, where he takes a break to cuss as most African Americans do, answers questions that are in the mind of the readers, and brings in ether his Granny or daughters in nearly every other incident he narrates because his life revolves around them.
And then there are his daddy struggles, which are different from most men because he didn’t marry any of the two women who bore him the kids and is cool about his choice. He explains to all the folks out there that if you have a Rolls Royce, don’t take it to the kids’ school; if you get them something expensive, make sure they use it and encourage them whenever they are down, especially when their coach makes them play sports without points. His hilarious take on everyday life is so perfect that the readers will not notice the absence of photographs in this book.
He also discusses his reconciliation with his mother and his stepfather, his inability to connect with his biological dad, and how it helped him ‘be there’ for his own daughters. How many fathers you know have gone to a therapist with their daughters to sort out their issues? How many have kept their daughter awake after she accidentally had something laced with drugs? How many A-listers have taken their daughter to a meeting where she announced his arrival by saying ‘Jamie Foxx is in the house!’. If you aren’t familiar with someone who has managed to do these things, then this practical – sometimes profane – guide to parenthood is exactly what you need in your life.
In short, Jamie Foxx’s book is a genuine reflection of his struggle and is so heartfelt that at times the readers might shed a tear or two. But it is a complete guide on how to be raised, and how to be a good parent. It might be his life experiences that are written on these pages but the lesson is for all of those out there who could relate to him. If he was able to understand the wisdom of his Granny – “You made your bed, now you gotta sleep in it” or “that you can entertain yourself on your own side of the street.” – after he became independent, so could the readers who right now might have no idea what these words meant.