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 "What I really hate is that people didn't get to know who Tookie Williams was." ...



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 "I would come up with ideas and they'd be like, 'Foxx, that's '91. You're not wearing linen and flat shoes, with streaks in your hair.' " ...


Hear about Jamie and Kanye as Batman and Robin -- and Jamie's successful plot to score a record deal -- on Overdrive.




Jamie Foxx Has 'Too Many Drinks,' Samples Charles On New LP



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— by Shaheem Reid

This must be the worst birthday Jamie Foxx has ever had.

In 45 minutes, it'll be midnight on December 13, 2005. Foxx is about to turn 38 years old, and he's practically in tears. He's in pieces. He's irritated, aggravated, heartbroken and practically inconsolable as he talks on the phone.

"They trying to hold us down!" Foxx yells in frustration.

Jamie Foxx and Stanley "Tookie" Williams
He's talking to his friend, Stanley "Tookie" Williams — who is about to die. Williams, the former leader of the Crips and a convicted murderer, has seen the last of the appeals for his life fail, and will be executed within the hour.

Over the past couple of years, Williams and Foxx have grown close. Foxx portrayed Williams in the made-for-TV 2004 biographical film "Redemption," and the two have been tight ever since. In the weeks leading up to Tookie's death, Foxx, Snoop Dogg and a host of others rallied unsuccessfully for Williams to be granted clemency. Williams was convicted of murdering four unarmed people in two separate incidents in 1979. He acknowledged that he'd had a violent past, but claimed he was innocent of the slayings. He had become an anti-gang crusader while on death row.

"He said, 'Listen, keep your head up. If this is how it happens, this is the way it's supposed to go,' " Foxx says a week later about his last conversation with Williams. "He was dying in 45 minutes, and he didn't break down, he didn't cry. He didn't say, 'This person is right, this person is wrong.'

Jamie Foxx in "Redemption"
"It was tough," Foxx continues. "Some people said, 'Jamie Foxx [did the movie because he's] Hollywood and he's making a lot of money' — no, the Hollywood thing would have been for me to do the movie and bounce and never talk to the dude again, whether he died or whatever. But what's so significant about this is that the Nobel Peace Prize [for which Williams was nominated six times] is not like winning a Grammy or an Oscar. This is something that's absolutely one of the best and hardest achievements to have. And a guy coming from a cell in solitary confinement for six years to write children's books on pieces of toilet paper, peace treaties for people like gang members ... He didn't have to do any of it. My whole thing was that he really was redeemed. He really changed."

Although the two situations hardly compare, Foxx himself has gone through a major metamorphosis over the past 15 years: After seeing the man on "In Living Color" in the early '90s, few would have thought him capable of taking on the role of Tookie Williams, let alone winning an Oscar for portraying Ray Charles. But Foxx has done it, and more. He's gone from being a piano prodigy to a leading stand-up comic to a funnyman actor to a serious actor, and now he's a singer, too.

When you look at videos such as his own "Unpredictable" and his appearances in Kanye West's "Gold Digger" and "Slow Jamz," there's a resonating difference between those clips and his 1994 hit, "Infatuation." He has the same voice but his swagger is more down pat now. Back in '94, he looked unsure of himself, as if he was questioning whether he should even be in a music video.

"Ten, 11 years ago, we [meaning Jamie and his camp] didn't know what we was doing," Foxx said about his LP Peep This. "We just wanted to get a joint out 'cause we was out doing standup."

Foxx got critical acclaim and fan praise for "Infatuation" — which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can sing — but there was little interest in the album beyond that, and Foxx told himself he wasn't going to pursue music anymore.


NEXT: 'I'm not gonna out-dance Chris Brown — but I got something else.' ...
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Photo: J Records

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