Triple threat Jamie Foxx—singer, actor, and comedian—attributes his great accomplishments to the guidance of his grandparents, Mark and Estelle Talley. They played a big part in his upbringing, taking him in as an infant when his parents split.
Foxx said that living with his grandparents was very fulfilling. "Any gaps—emotional gaps, spiritual gaps—my adopted parents filled them. So I didn't skip a beat. I was never short on the love of a mother and father, though it came from an earlier generation of family.”
At every step of the way, his grandparents’ devotion was obvious.When Foxx was in school, they attended the budding athlete’s sporting events religiously; his own father did not, despite living close by. “I was puzzled. Why couldn't he drive 28 miles to check on a son who passed a football more than 1,000 yards?” Foxx questioned. It was his grandparents who cheered him on every step of the way.
From the beginning, Estelle Talley knew her grandson was meant for greatness.“ She saw me reading early, saw I was smart and believed I was born to achieve truly special things. She was my first acting teacher,” he recalled in his Oscar-acceptance speech. She also nurtured Foxx’s musical talent, enrolling him in piano lessons at a young age. Undoubtedly these lessons helped Foxx earn his Oscar-winning performance as Ray Charles in the film Ray.
“My grandmother was a confident woman. I think about what she must've endured during the sixties, when she was starting her own day-care business. She could walk
into a bank filled with white folks and say, ’Let me speak to so and so.’ She knew who she was.And with the love she and my grandfather extended to me, she passed on that confidence.”
To read more inspiring stories of people raised in grandfamilies, download Generations United publication Grand Successes: Stories of Lives Well-Raised today!