Foxx shares the story of being raised by his no-nonsense grandmother, the glamour and pitfalls of life in Hollywood, and the lessons he took from both worlds to raise his two daughters.
Jamie Foxx has won an Academy Award and a Grammy Award, laughed with sitting presidents, and partied with the biggest names in hip-hop. But he is most proud of his role as father to two very independent young women, Corinne and Anelise. Jamie might not always know what he’s doing when it comes to raising girls — especially when they talk to him about TikTok (PlikPlok?) and don’t share his enthusiasm for flashy Rolls Royces — but he does his best to show up for them every single day.
Luckily, he has a strong example to follow: his beloved late grandmother, Estelle Marie Talley. Jamie learned everything he knows about parenting from the fierce woman who raised him: As he puts it, she’s “Madea before Tyler Perry put on the pumps and the gray wig.”
In Act Like You Got Some Sense — a title inspired by Estelle — Jamie shares up close and personal stories about the tough love and old-school values he learned growing up in the small town of Terrell, Texas; his early days trying to make it in Hollywood; the joys and challenges of achieving stardom; and how each phase of his life shaped his parenting journey. Hilarious, poignant, and always brutally honest, this is Jamie Foxx like we’ve never seen him before.
I first came across Jamie Foxx’s work in Any Given Sunday. (In my late teens, I went through a football movie/TV phase.) He stole many of the scenes he was in, easily holding his own opposite Al Pacino and others. Since then, I’ve seen quite a few of his movies. I did not, however, really know anything about him. So, when I had the chance to review his new memoir, I jumped at the chance. It’s an interesting, honest, often funny memoir and examination of his experiences and the choices he’s made in life. I really enjoyed it.
Act Like You Got Some Sense took me a bit by surprise. I’d expected something interesting and engaging, but hadn’t expected it to be as funny as it is. I ended up listening to it in two sitting, over the course of a single day — sure, it’s not very long, but it’s noteworthy that Foxx is pretty efficient in his storytelling, while never making the book feel rushed or thrown-together. He digs quite deep at times, and provides plenty of stories and anecdotes from his career and experiences as a father (and son). I had expected to find the Hollywood/career stories more interesting than the content on his family (it’s why I was interested in reading the book in the first place), but I found myself liking all of the topics equally — Foxx’s wit shines throughout, and I don’t think more than a few minutes went by without me laughing out loud.
It’s not all laughs, though: One thing that comes across quite clearly is that Foxx is not interested in dodging responsibility for his mistakes — he frequently notes when he was a terrible father (especially when he was younger and just starting his rise through the Hollywood ranks), and talks about the ways in which his behaviour affected his kids, and how he wishes he could have made some different choices. These chapters and sections offer some genuine discussion of what it means to be a father, and the ways in which parents’ choices can have lasting impacts on their kids. He also sometimes uses these experiences to talk about more general approaches to treating others.
If you’re interested in Foxx’s work, Hollywood in general, and engaging life stories, then I would definitely recommend you give Act Like You Got Some Sense a try. Foxx’s performance for the audiobook is superb, too, as one should probably expect.