Wakanda Forever! Jamie Foxx kicked off the 2018 BET Awards with love for ‘Black Panther.’ He even threw some shade at Donald Trump, saying T’Challa is his true leader!
“We have to address the panther in the room,” Jamie Foxx, 50, said at the start of the 2018 BET Awards. Nearly a decade since he last hosted the awards show, the Oscar-award winner kicked off the June 24 by heaping tons of praise on Black Panther, and how it exemplified black excellence. Before talking about how Panther is the third-highest grossing movie of all time and the biggest Marvel movie in history, he threw a dig at President Donald Trump. “We don’t need a president right now because we’ve got a king. King T’Challa, make some noise.”
While Chadwick Bosseman, 40, is King T’Challa of Wakanda in the film, it was Michael B. Jordan, 31, the film’s villain, who had the last word…at least, the last word of Jamie’s opening. Michael was in the audience and Jamie had the man who played Killmonger come up to deliver a line that Jamie thought had extra special significance in this climate: “Bury me in the ocean, with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage!”
“Nothing is off-limits,” Jamie said when talking with Billboard about who’d he target in his opening monologue, “but you know what you don’t want to do? You don’t want people to feel like they got dressed up and we got the family here [to make them feel uncomfortable]. I think we have a way to do it where it’s funny. And like I said, it’s a celebration, so any [lighthearted] jokes [go]. We don’t ever bite our tongues with jokes, but we got to [do it in] a good way where we feel good.” This isn’t just talk for Jamie. He hosted the show back in 2009, mere days after the death of Michael Jackson. Jamie helped the show become a celebration of Michael’s life and legacy.
“It was tough,” he told Billboard. “ …[B]ut that was a tough time because we’re rehearsing and then a couple of days before, Michael Jackson, who is the biggest musical influence in the world [passed away]. So we didn’t know at the time, but I was like, ‘OK, if we’re going to do a Michael Jackson tribute, just put it on me. I’ll take whatever it is [we do], but I think we should do it in a fun way.’ When you look back on it, [I don’t want] it to be dreary. BET was the only entity to actually do a tribute, so it was a unique time. I remember the managers and people were like, “What are we going to do now?” Like man, we still got to celebrate the music! I think the most poignant moment was when Janet Jackson came out. This time, we’re going too stay upbeat.’ “
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“Everything is so heavy right now,” Jamie said, adding that comedians have to do “a lot of heavy lifting because politicians won’t do. So all the things that are being done is fucked up. Politicians put their tail between their legs and don’t say anything.” However, for the BET Awards, he hopes it’s a night where everyone can part. “Colbert. Everything like that to sort of bring balance. But I hope to remind [everyone] to come out and have some fun. Come have some fun….come smoke your weed and get your drink on.”