TERRELL, Texas — Terrell Tiger Alumni Eric Bishop, more commonly known as Jamie Foxx, submitted a special video [see below] to Terrell Independent School District students earlier today as part of a district-wide virtual African American Read-in celebrating Black History Month.
The district had previously collected videos from staff, community members, and students reading books, excerpts from books, poems, songs, and more, which are then shown to students in their classrooms.
"Today we received a very special submission by a Terrell Tiger Alumni,' read a statement from the district. "Thank you to Terrell's own Eric Bishop, AKA Jamie Foxx, for taking time to read and share with us about 'Soul!'"
Foxx says his best friend Gilbert Willie, who is the son of Gilbert Willie Sr., the namesake of Terrell ISD's Gilbert Willie Elementary School, had called and asked him to send in a video for the virtual read-in.
He obliged and read from Disney Pixar's "Soul" — the story of Joe Gardner, an African American middle school band teacher who lands a dreamt-of jazz gig at the Half Note Club in New York. Gardner, whose voice is played by Foxx, fell down a manhole and finds himself suddenly trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife.
Gilbert asked Foxx to say something about reading during his virtual read-in.
"You have to know how to read, children," Foxx said. "Because reading is going to open the doors to opportunity."
"Reading is fundamental, I know its cliche, we've said it for a long time but, in order to get things done, you have to know how to read," he continued. "So, read, read, read."