When one thinks about Jamie Foxx, it’s difficult to resist acknowledging how tremendously humorous he is. An Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner, Foxx is much more than a talented comedian; he’s an accomplished actor, singer and musician. Although Mr. Foxx does not always receive the credit he deserves for his significant contributions to film, television, and R&B, soul, pop and hip-hop music, the value of his work is unquestionable. Yes, he’s known across the globe for hilarity-generating acts but the artist has demonstrated an ability to communicate his innermost feelings concerning love and relationships—with such heartfelt emotion, tenderness, and candor—not often witnessed in the art of black male vocalists on the national scene. One of Jamie’s most sentimental albums is 2015’s Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses, his fifth album. “In Love By Now,” the album’s most successful single, encapsulates the album and artist’s revealing expressions about love and relationships.
On a 2015 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mr. Foxx unveiled that the album concentrates on a past failed relationship he had with a woman in Hollywood, California where she left him at a vulnerable time in his life. Foxx had deep feelings for the woman but these emotions were not shared by her. She saw Jamie as a way to move up the economic, social and professional ladder. While many people believe that celebrities like him have any easy time finding authentic intimate relationships, the gifted professional divulges that the Hollywood environment engenders a culture that can make it challenging to experience true love. This past broken relationship has an immense affect on Foxx. It does, however, offer him an opportunity to provide his diverse audience with critical insights about responding to heartbreak, disappointments and emotional voids as he does through the album, especially in “In Love By Now.”
In “In Love By Now,” Mr. Foxx laments the numerous “broken vows” he has endured, which have resulted in love constantly escaping him. He powerfully depicts the influence these unfilled promises have had on his life: “Been drowning in the sea of broken vows.” Music fans normally hear countless female artists convey this type of emotional pain through their art. Jamie’s courage to be frank about his agony allows for other black male artists and males in general to discover the liberty to speak about their relationship hardships, disillusionments, and longings in ways American society typically does not give them a comfortable social space to articulate such sentiments. Such a troubling relationship history has led the artist to viewing experiencing genuine love in an intimate relationship as an elusive “dream.”
From the lyrics of “In Love By Now,” music fans can understand that Mr. Foxx has nostalgia for an ideal and romantic wedding, and he has expected it to happen “by now.” As the song closes, it ends with a modicum of hope. His turbulent relationship history has supplied him with valuable lessons about how to proceed in his future endeavors to achieve his “dream” of real love. Jamie now knows what not to accept and how to identify when a woman is not truly interested in him and not interested in building a lasting relationship. He says, “Eyes are finally open to a love I couldn’t see.”
This single has helped Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses to debut at #10 on the Billboard 200 chart and peak at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison