Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx can be seen in a 17-second video posted on social media Friday night calling for an end to killings in Natchez.
“This is Jamie Foxx with a sincere hope that we stop the killing in Natchez, Mississippi,” the actor says in the video that is making the rounds on social media, “because we love our children, and we want to see them grow and prosper so anything we can do. Put it in God’s hands.”
Fourteen young men and women have been murdered this year in Natchez and Adams County, and law enforcement officials say they believe the violence springs from rival neighborhood groups of young people, who are retaliating against each other for past offenses.
Foxx, who won a best actor Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the 2004 film, “Ray,” heard about the killings through Larry E. Hooper, principal of Natchez-Adams School District’s Freshman Academy.
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“I asked him (Foxx) to do that for us,” Hooper said. “Some of these are my former students. I was hanging with him yesterday (Friday).”
Hooper said he became friends with Foxx after Hooper and his daughter, London, 8, won a contest earlier this year and got to meet Foxx in an expenses paid trip to Los Angeles.
Hooper said he has seen many of the youths involved in the killings come through his school. Some of them, Hooper said, were victims of murders and some of them have been convicted of murders.
“I’m sick of it,” Hooper said. “I’m upset about my former students getting killed and going to jail. It hurts me. I try so hard. I don’t have any solutions. I talk to them. It’s hard.”
Hooper said he was close to Makailuis Johnson who became the city’s 11th murder victim this year when he was shot to death while sitting in his car on East Stiers Lane early morning Dec. 15.
Hooper said Foxx talked to Johnson’s mother on the telephone Friday and was touched by her story.
“He talked to her for a while, and it touched his spirit,” Hooper said, “and it fell in to his heart to do the video.”
Hooper said he does not know if the video will help.
“If it keeps one person from killing somebody, it made a difference,” Hooper said.