From Ray to the forthcoming film Tyson, Jamie Foxx is known for bringing stories to life with his dynamic acting. Since taking ownership of BSB-Brown Sugar Bourbon in March, Foxx has been bringing his storytelling talent to entrepreneurship, paving the way for Black creatives who aspire to capitalize on the intersection of creativity and business.
For(bes) The Culture caught up with Foxx to discuss his newest business venture, Black entrepreneurship and how creatives can bring their dreams to fruition.
For(bes) The Culture: Why did you decide to venture into the alcohol business?
Jamie Foxx: Owning a brand that brings life to the party has always been a goal, and with BSB-Brown Sugar Bourbon, we’re making it happen. We want BSB to be synonymous with good times and celebrations, and I’m excited to show the world what we have cooking.
For(bes) The Culture: Black entrepreneurship has been a hot topic lately with films like The Banker showcasing why ownership in the Black community is so important in building generational wealth. Why do you feel that entrepreneurship and ownership are so important in the Black community?
Foxx: This is the best time to live when it comes to being creative and being an entrepreneur, which made this the perfect time to get involved with Brown Sugar Bourbon. You talk about the industrial age and all the ages that we studied in our school books…in this age, you can grab it right out of the air and make things happen. I don’t think there’s ever been a time to see people grabbing their businesses and being successful. They’ll talk about this moment for a long time.
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For(bes) The Culture: What are some of the barriers that you feel Black entrepreneurs face today?
Foxx: I actually feel that for Black entrepreneurs right now, the sky is the limit to go out and get it. Whatever you feel inspired by or passionate about—you can even reach people through your social media to get your art out into the world or your product. I always try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on. In fact, when I was doing Project Power for Netflix, I discovered this girl that could really rap on Instagram—her name is Chika—and I told the directors about her and they ended up hiring her to write rap lyrics performed by Dominique Fishback in the movie, which was amazing.
For(bes) The Culture: Why do you think it’s important for Black creatives to pick up and master different skills on their creative journeys?
Foxx: When you’re blessed with a talent to create something, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. My biggest strength is to recognize my weaknesses. I didn’t get to that until my best friend from high school said, “‘We need to be able to uncomfortably look at ourselves and see the blemishes and realize what it is and then be able to vocalize and say, ‘I’m not good at that.’” That’s why I have surrounded myself with a great team…we feel re-energized in a whole new way. Part of that is the freedom this business has given us now with the emergence of streaming services—I can go do anything from sketch comedy, drama, action, TV, film, music and there are no boundaries between those different mediums the way there were 15 years ago. That allows me to continually work on my craft and flex different creative muscles to stay in tune.
For(bes) The Culture: Are there any multi hyphenate entertainers who have inspired you to branch out and master new skills?
Foxx: I would say that I’ve been very blessed to have many incredible mentors along the way—Quincy Jones is the ultimate and really took me under his wing. Sidney Poitier gave me so much advice on the importance of responsibility to impart on the next generation, especially as a Black entertainer in Hollywood. That’s what I try to pass on to my own daughters—they know they can do anything. My oldest daughter is an executive producer on our Netflix show and my youngest daughter is already a member of the Writer’s Guild and she plays my songs from my albums on the piano—it really warms my heart.
For(bes) The Culture: What legacy do you want to leave for future generations of budding entrepreneurs?
Foxx: If you look at where I got my start, I came from In Living Color, with Keenen Ivory Wayans and all the Wayans which gave me an opportunity to really hone in on what I was put here on this earth to do. Then I went to The Jamie Foxx Show with all Black writers and my guy Bentley Kyle Evans who is now working with me on my new show, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me, which is coming out April 14 on Netflix.
It’s crucial to make sure the next generation of entrepreneurs do not feel like they have any limitations on what they can achieve.