Jamie Foxx is playing Electro in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2. So how odd is it that somewhere out in space and time we have an alternate reality where Electro is real, he’s a black guy and he is ultimately killed by the vigilante known as Spider-Man. And then, Alternate Reality Jamie Foxx wears an ‘Electro’ shirt to the Alternate Universe BET Awards to show support — and this is key — before the trial is over.
I say this because the George Zimmerman trial is underway and Mr. Foxx decided last week that it would be a good time to show support for the deceased young man, Trayvon Martin, before all the evidence has been presented in a court of law:
Actor Jamie Foxx made a silent but powerful fashion statement at Sunday’s BET Awards, where he opted out of the usual red-carpet finery in favor of a T-shirt bearing the image of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen whose shooting death last year sparked intense national debate over gun control and racial profiling. …
Foxx’s fashion statement arrived as the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who claims to have shot Martin in self-defense, enters its second week. …
[H]e was moved to get involved with the case after a tearful encounter with the late teen’s mother at the NAACP Image Awards, and by the work of actor and activist Harry Belafonte.
I feel sorry for Trayvon Martin’s mom; no mother wants to lose her son. I feel sorry for George Zimmerman’s family; no one wants to see a loved one hauled off to prison — especially if they believe said loved one killed a man in self defense. However, tears of a family member do not alter the events that unfolded on the night of the incident in their favor. The justice system exists to strip out the emotion, stick to the facts and then put it in the hands of an unbiased jury. It doesn’t always work that way, but in an imperfect world it’s the best we have.
Faith in the justice system can deteriorate for any number of reasons. One way is for people with large megaphones to try cases in the court of public opinion and then hold them up (like a BET Award) as some sort of ultimate litmus test for race relations in the United States.
Guys of the Jamie Foxx mold initially said that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. If the defense’s key witness (Trayvon’s then-girlfriend) is to be believed, current evidence reveals the exact opposite — Martin told her he was being followed by a “creepy ass cracker.”(Zimmerman is multi-racial with Peruvian heritage.) Now they’re back tracking, sort of like Spike Lee when he tried tweeting George Zimmerman’s address to 250,000 followers, only to find out that he sent online goons on a mission to harass an innocent elderly couple.
The news stations that have allotted wall-to-wall coverage of this trial (they could barely bring themselves to turn their attention to a military coup in Egypt), are using George Zimmerman’s fate to racially incite America’s lowest common denominator — white and black. Individuals like Jamie Foxx then exacerbate the problem. Peruse through any number of Twitter feeds on the trial or the comments section of your favorite news website, and the dumbest among us are threatening riots or hurling racial epithets at one another. They play racial tit-for-tat and in the end everyone involved walks away angry.
What would the world look like if Hollywood actors spent more time talking about the ties that bind us as the human race and less about artificial divisions constructed around pigmentation? It would probably be a much better place. On opening night of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while I sit in a diverse audience collectively enjoying the moment, I’m sure my mind will meander back to this topic and think “What If?” I encourage you to do the same.