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Out of all the truly interesting and moving speeches that were given during the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, we had to highlight one from singer/actor Jamie Foxx, which challenged famous folks to step it up and stand for big things like Martin Luther King Jr., Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and others did before the original march on Washington and after. But it was also a major call for such celebrities, as well as young people in general, to have more respect for their elders, who sacrificed and paved the way for them. Here’s what Foxx had to say in his speech (which you can watch below in case you missed it).

“I’m here to celebrate what Dr. King did 50 years [ago], I’m not even probably going to read from the teleprompter because I’m just going to speak from my heart. I’m going to tell you right now, that everybody my age and all the entertainers, it’s time for us to stand up now and renew this dream. That’s what we got to do. I was affected by the Trayvon Martin situation. I was affected by Newtown. I was affected by Sandy Hook. I’m affected by those things, so it’s time for us now to pick up. Harry Belafonte saw me at the Image Awards and he asked me what am I willing to do.  He took it a step further and we went to dinner and my daughter who is 19 years old –I said, ‘Listen, if you want to get inspired, come listen to this man speak.’ When I sat with Mr. Belafonte, he asked my daughter [in Belafonte voice], ‘How old are you?’ And my daughter said, ’19.’  I said, ‘Mr. Belafonte what were you doing at 19?’ He said, ‘I was coming home from World War 2 and when I got back to America I wasn’t allowed to vote.  I love America, but I realized I had more work to do. So myself, Al, Jesse, and Martin, we marched.” I said, ‘Wait a minute man, you sound like you’re naming a boy band group, what do you mean? Who are these guys’ names?’ He looked at my daughter and he said, ‘Martin Luther King, have you heard of him?’  And we sat there and we cried.

What we need to do now, is pick it up now so when we’re 87 years old talking to the other young folks, we can say, ‘It was me, Will Smith, Jay Z, Kanye, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington,’ the list goes on and on. Don’t make me start preaching up here. Last but not least, I have to recognize Mr. Berry Gordy, and not only did Harry Belafonte bail Martin Luther King out of jail so that he could march he also paid for all of Coretta Scott-King’s bills as long as she was on this planet. Young folks let’s have some respect for our elders, ya’ll…”

He definitely made some good points, especially when he touched on the fact that we need to have respect for our elders. With Jay Z walking around calling Belafonte “boy” in his lyrics, it’s clear said respect is lacking these days. What did you think of Foxx’s speech?


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