Jamie Foxx Says Being Called The N-Word Growing Up Prepared Him For "Django Unchained"

posted Tuesday December 18 ,2012 at 12:49PM CST | 56 comments

Jamie Foxx Says Being Called The N-Word Growing Up Prepared Him For

Exclusive: At a recent junket, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson and "Django" cast discuss America's failure to deal with slavery.

If Django Unchained is expected to be controversial, it wasn’t evident during the latest press junket. An array of media members gathered in The Ritz hotel in New York City for Quentin Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Set in pre-Civil War America, Django (played by Foxx) tells the story of a freed slave’s journey to rescue his wife, “Broomhilda” (Washington) from “Calvin Candie” - a Mississippi plantation owner (DiCaprio) with a jones for “Mandingo wrestling.” Weighty subject matter aside, on this day the laughter kept flowing. 

“I wasn’t [initially] asked to play [‘Django’],” said Jamie Foxx describing his first impression of the role. “I actually saw the movie was already [in production] and someone else was supposed to play it. I thought, ‘Wow, here’s another project that I hadn’t heard about.’ After that, I had a management change.” Foxx also explained that since he grew up in Terrell, Texas, he wasn’t phased by the film’s gratuitous use of the n-word:

“I love the South. There are racial components in the South. You get called nigger growing up as a kid. When I read the script, I didn’t knee-jerk to the word 'nigger' like someone from New York or [Los Angeles] would knee jerk because that was something I experienced. What I did gravitate to was the love story of ‘Django’ and ‘Broomhilda.’ We never get a chance to see the slave actually fight back. When we started to shoot the film, we started to comment that these are the things that you get to see for the first time. For me, it was about the work and we knew coming into it that there was going to be a whole lot of other things said about it. But it’s been a fantastic ride.”

“I always wanted to do a movie that deals with slavery,” said Tarantino, flanked by Foxx and Christoph Waltz, who plays “Dr. King Shultz, a bounty hunter who enlists “Django’s” help in apprehending the fugitive “Brittle Brothers” and releases him from slavery in the process. “It seems to me that so many Westerns that actually take place during slavery times have bent over backwards to avoid it - as is America’s way. Most other countries have been forced to deal with the atrocities they have committed and the world has made them deal with the atrocities they have committed. It’s kind of everybody’s fault here in America. White, Black - nobody wants to deal with slavery. Nobody wants to stare at it.”      

The audience erupted when Samuel L. Jackson described his character, “Stephen” - Calvin Candie’s man servant - as the “Spook Cheney of Candie Land,” and said he complained to Tarantino about being 15 years too old to play “Django.” “[After] I was done with that,” said Jackson. “I read the script and called him back and said, ‘So you want me to be the most despicable Negro in cinema history?’ Then we kind of laughed together and said, ‘Yeah!’ He continued: 

“Not only was [Django Unchained] a great artistic opportunity to create something that was iconic, and to take what people know as Uncle Tom and turn it on it’s head in a powerful way - it also gave me an opportunity to do really nasty shit to the person that got the role that I thought I should have [played]. And it was written beautifully, so I could do that.”

“I think a lot of times people in the past may have felt nervous about playing a slave because so many of the narratives that we saw on television about slavery are about powerlessness,” said Washington. “This is not a film about that. This is a film about a Black man who finds his freedom and rescues his wife. He is an agent of his own power. He is a liberator. He’s a hero. So there’s nothing shameful about that.”

Jamie Foxx is also credited with producing Django Unchained’s lead single, “100 Black Coffins” featuring Rick Ross. In 2005, he became the fourth artist to win both an Academy Award for acting (Ray, Best Actor) and have the #1 album (Unpredictable) in the United States - following Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Barbara Streisand. Foxx also collaborated with Kanye West and Twista on West’s breakthrough smash, “Slow Jamz” in 2004, and again on “Gold Digger” - the lead single to West’s sophomore release, Late Registration (2005). In 1997, the multi-talented actor, singer, and comedian played “Keith B-Real” during the interludes on Will Smith’s nine-times platinum album, Big Willie Style. Reportedly, Smith was originally considered for the lead role in Django.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, and Walton Goggins were also on hand during the uproarious press conference. 

Django Unchained in theaters on December 25.

RELATED: Django Unchained Soundtrack Stream

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Comments 56 Posts

  • TYBO2020
    NIKKAS USED TO GET CALLED NIGGER IN NEW YORK JAMIE COME ON..
    • beez
      not like in mississippi, alabama, georgia, florida,
  • SCHWARZ
    Anonymous: "haha you white that's why you mad" No, I'm mad that my tax dollars are going towards your unemployment ++++++++++ O_o "QUOTEMAN" BRINGING OUT THAT RACISM! SO THIS LITTLE COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE IS SUCKING UP ALL THE TAX $ 4 UNEMPLOYMENT? THE PEOPLE WE KNOW 4 DECADES WHO HAVEN'T BEEN PAID PROPERLY & HAVE ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAD HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, ALL OF A SUDDEN R SUPPOSED TO B SITTING ON UNEMPLOYMENT? GETTING MAX BENEFITS & EXTENSIONS 4 THE RECESSION TAKIN ALL THE TAX $? LMMFBAO HOW WE ALL ON WELFARE & UNEMPLOYMENT? DIDN'T Y'ALL ALL HAVE THE GOOD MANAGER, CONSTRUCTION, BANK, SCHOOL, UNION JOBS? BUT N!GGAS R TAKIN ALL THE TAX $ WITH THEIR MAILROOM, SECRETARY, CLERK & ASSISTANT MEDIAN TO LOW WAGES BENEFITS CORRECT? THESE SAME N!GGAS THEY SAY R REALISTICALLY AROUND 30% UNEMPLOYMENT? LMAO NAW THAT'S BOB & MEGAN DOWN THE STREET FROM U U NEVA KNEW MEGAN WAS ON WELFARE GETTING MAX BENEFITS FOR LITTLE JIM, WHO'S 14 AND RIDES THE SKATEBOARD AND LUNCHES ON PIZZA & JUICE COURTESY OF FOOD STAMPS & BOB IS GETTING PAID UNDER THE TABLE FROM CONSTRUCTION THAT'S HOW HE GOT THE TRUCK & BOAT BECAUSE THEY LIVE IN A HOUSE ALREADY PAID 4 BY DEAD GRANNY EVEN THEN THAT'S OK SO LONG AS IT AIN'T HOODRAT KISHA GETTING WIC RIGHT? BUT U DON'T KNOW ABOUT MEGAN'S LITTLE SISTER JEN WITH 5 KIDS & 3 BABY DADDY'S IN JAIL IN MOM'S APARTMENT GETTING WELFARE OFF & ON COKE & METH, MOM JUST GOT LAID OFF AFTER 30 YEARS THEY ELIMINATED HER JOB THOU SAYETH NOW FCUKBOI?
    • Anonymous
      Please learn how to write.
    • Anonymous
      I don't read novels, waterboy.
    • SCHWARZ
      EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECTED FCUKBOI ANSWERS FROM "GENIUSES" WHO CAN'T COMPREHEND IN UNDER 140 CHARACTERS
  • Anonymous
    niggers smell like cheese disgusting
  • Dickjango
    Ohhhh woe is me. We have all been called names but we don't cry about it. That n word is no different then the r word or c word so do I feel sorry for calling him that Nooooooo. I am a man who stands on his own ground. When I enter a room I have a choice bubble gum or kick someone's ass. Well I'm all out of bubblegum
  • Anonymous
    i would say that slavery was much worse than both world wars.
  • Anonymous
    Peace to the Gods and the Earths!
  • Anonymous
    Slavery was mad real.
  • Anonymous
    Did Louis Farrakhan approved this movie?
    • Anonymous
      Who cares
  • Anonymous
    Wassup my N-word?
  • Anonymous
    Strictly fo' my N-words!
  • Anonymous
    lots of dumb ass comments and ridiculous grammar being posted on this article. I wonder why..
    • Anonymous
      shut up u grammar nazi!
  • Anonymous
    props to Tarantino for giving blacks some film time and backround story
    • Anonymous
      If you recall he gave Ving Rhames film time and had him ass raped lol
    • Anonymous
      yeah but sam jackson travelled the world like cane from kung fu, solving mysteries
  • itshustle
    from what ive heard the word slave comes from the word slav... the ethinicities of the majority of european slaves were from that region of europe.... just putting things n perspective for some of our immature friends who come to african american geared post and made negative comments about blacks. theres actually a physocological term for that, its called projection Gz up... my NIGGA
  • Scarface
    Let's forget Jamie Foxx for a lil bit and talk about Houston. I always hear mad niggas runnnin around saying Swisha House put the H-Town on the Hip Hop map. Umm, that's a LIE. How the fuck you gon say Swisha House started this shit when RAP-A-LOT has been on the grind since 1986?!?!? They're the ones who really put the H on the map.
    • acidrap
      Right.Preaaach!!!
    • Fuck Rap-A-Lot
      I don't think so. Rap-A-Lot sure has been on the grind for the most time, but SWISHA HOUSE really made Houston relevant. Let's keep it real son: how many people here knew that Houston had any rappers before Swisha House came out???
    • anon
      **raises hand...along with every knowledgable Geto Boys, UGK fan**
    • Willie D
      LOL at this niga fuck Swisha House and fuck you as well
  • Jacc
    Spike Lee getting mad about Tarantino making a black movie in 3, 2...
    • Erick Sermon
      lol yeah that nigga Spike Lee always get mad at a non black person doing a movie about blacks he a pussy
    • Anonymous
      hahah jace tru tru
  • Anonymous
    lol use of nigga is the only thing ppl take from this article? what the fucks wrong w/ you?
  • Anonymous
    "haha you white that's why you mad" No, I'm mad that my tax dollars are going towards your unemployment.
    • Anonymous
      that doesn't even make sense.
    • Anonymous
      LOL yeah like you don't live off the benefits of slavery. OK African Americans and Latin Americans alike generate billions of dollars to this country every year through some cheap ass workforce yet you're "mad" because a few thousand dollars are spent on welfare state. Spoiled bitch.
    • civilized white trash
      There is more whiteys on welfare than Blacks #fact. so shut up you lame pale face. Arm Leg Leg Arm Head! Word is Bond!
  • N-word
    Whites find comfort in the word because it at once makes them feel better about themselves. Sort of like having your own literary kryptonite. Blacks don't feel the need to throw the word cracker, kike, chink,wetback or pollack around because he/she doesn't feel inadequate in that way. And just like clockwork there are trolls that visit hip hop sites just to pick race fights.
    • Anonymous
      I'd worry less about white people and more about the police who are probably right behind you. Whatever you do don't tell the white officer he's white. Got it?
  • Anonymous
    a black man acting like a nigger... should be easy enoufgh for black folk lol
    • Eminem
      Coming to a Hip Hop website to hate black folk behind a computer screen... should be easy enough to peckewoods lol
    • Anonymous
      Coming to a Hip Hop website to hate black folk behind a computer screen... should be easy enough to peckewoods lol just funny stupid niggers lol
  • Anonymous
    say N-word 109 times in a black folk presence so you know it's real