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Jamie Foxx Says He Wasn't Allowed to Appear Onstage in a College Musical Because He's Black

People logo People 6/5/2018 Mike Miller


Jamie Foxx is opening about racism he encountered in college before his career took off.

In the new episode of Off Script, created and produced by Grey Goose, Foxx, 50, sat down with comedian Sarah Silverman for a conversation about their lives and careers. When Silverman explained that she got her start in acting by performing in musicals like Hair, Foxx revealed he had a very different experience with the genre.

“They came to me because they needed a tenor,” Foxx, who didn’t reveal the name of the play, said of his college music department. “They wouldn’t let me go on the stage but they would let me behind the curtain because there weren’t any African Americans in the production. So I was would sing in the back, and I would just sing the parts they needed me [for].”

He added, “And that’s how I learned about musicals.”

Foxx attended United States International University, where he studied classical music and composition.

A stunned Silverman responded, “That’s insane! You don’t know musicals and your experience with them was racist.”

a man and a woman sitting in a chair: Sarah Silverman and Jamie Foxx. © Provided by TIME Inc. Sarah Silverman and Jamie Foxx.

While Foxx wasn’t a big on musicals growing up, he was always a talented musician. He began playing the piano at just 5-years-old, and worked as a part-time pianist and choir leader in Terrell’s New Hope Baptist Church in Texas. He also sang in a band called Leather and Lace, and after completing high school, he earned a scholarship to United States International University, where he studied classical music and composition.

In Foxx’s new series Off Script, the Oscar winner interviews Hollywood stars about the moments that helped shape their careers. Other guests appearing on the show include Jeremy Renner, Benicio del Toro, Vince Vaughn and Denzel Washington.

In addition to the talk show, Foxx is set to host and executive produce the game show Beat Shazam, which premieres for its second season May 29 on Fox. As for the big screen, he’s also starring role in the new Robin Hood film alongside Taron Egerton and Jamie Dornan.

The new episode of Off Script premiere live at on Wednesday.

a man and a woman sitting on a chair © Provided by TIME Inc.

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