HOLLYWOOD — “I have been waiting for this film all year,” Nick Cannon said at the premiere of “Ray” on Tuesday night. Cannon certainly wasn’t the only one excited to see the movie about the legendary soul singer, as tons of famous faces came out for the big night.
“I heard Jamie [Foxx] outdid himself in this movie,” Lil Jon, who walked the red carpet holding his gold cup of Crunk!!! juice, said of the film’s star. “I heard he gives an Oscar-worthy performance and I really want to see it.”
Despite the heavy downpour of rain, the red carpet filled up quickly with stars and became so crowded that Will Smith couldn’t find his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “I lost my wife,” he said. “I have to go find her.” But before entering the theater, Smith stopped to say a few kind words about his friend Foxx. “I am out here supporting my man. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure this guy gets an Oscar for his hard work. I love this dude.”
Other stars in the crowd included Jermaine Dupri, who tightly held girlfriend Janet Jackson’s hand as they snuck by reporters and into the theater; and Mekhi Phifer, Smokey Robinson and Magic Johnson.
Also in attendance was co-star Larenz Tate, who said moviegoers won’t be disappointed by this film. “The buzz around the movie is phenomenal, but we definitely live up to the expectations,” he said. Tate plays Quincy Jones in the film and said he already received the stamp of approval from the music producer. “Quincy called me and said, ‘You did us well.’ ”
Foxx caused a flashbulb frenzy when making his entrance but made sure the focus of the night was remembering the man he portrays in the film. “He was taking chances when you didn’t know if it was going to fly, and because of that he became the great Ray Charles,” Foxx said.
Christina Milian, who arrived with Cannon, also recognized the great contribution Charles made to the music world. “When you watch people like him and Stevie Wonder you can see that they brought R&B music into play,” she said. “The talent they have playing piano and the soul they have help inspire myself and a lot of the young artists that have come out today.” Cannon echoed the sentiment by simply stating, “Music wouldn’t be music as it is today if it wasn’t for Ray Charles.”
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