Act Like You Got Some Sense by Jamir Foxx

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In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, award-winning, multi-talented entertainer Jamie Foxx shares the story of being raised by his no-nonsense grandmother, the glamour and pitfalls of life in Hollywood, and the lessons he took from both worlds to raise his two daughters.

An excerpt from Act Like You Got Some Sense

The way my grandma pushed me to learn piano, I pushed Anelise. Except I could actually play so I would teach her myself. When a dad teaches his kid how to do something, it creates a deep bond. And, if I’m being honest, I also was looking for those bragging rights. I would be able to score points forever if for the rest of her life she told people her father taught her how to play. I felt the same way about teaching her how to swim. For the rest of Anelise’s life she will tell people her father taught her how to swim. That makes my chest stick out a little bit further. Same goes for brushing her teeth but usually people aren’t impressed if you know how to do that. Unlike playing the piano.

Teaching piano was a delicate operation from day one. I didn’t want to push too hard, particularly knowing how sensitive Anelise is about this stuff. It was a longstanding struggle between us. I tried to combine the two approaches—show her the notes but also show her how to play the songs she likes, by some of her favorite artists (back to that Billie Eilish). At one point I noticed that she seemed somewhat subdued whenever she was around the piano.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Why you seem so…down?”

She shrugged. “Why is it that when you play the piano everybody sits around and listens? Then when I play piano no one comes around. I feel like I’m not being seen.”

D*mn. That was a tough one. I took a deep breath.

“Well, you know Anelise, if you want people to crowd around, you have to really play well.” I watched her face to make sure I wasn’t crushing dreams or anything.

“When I hear you playing, I’m not sure if you want to be bothered. I tell myself, ‘Let Anelise do her thing.’” I looked at her and smiled. “I will make sure I come in and listen to you next time.” And to encourage her, I told her, “If you play well enough, we’ll send it to Billie Eilish.”