Jamie Foxx is an acclaimed actor and comedian who's made millions laugh, but he says there's one woman who was by far his biggest fan: his grandmother, Estelle Talley, who adopted Jamie when he was only 7 months old.
In this clip from "Oprah's Next Chapter," Jamie tells Oprah he's a product of the values first instilled by his grandmother, who died in 2004. He says her spirit is always with him.
"My grandmother said, 'I'm going to give you all the things I wanted to give my children, but they were a little too old to understand,'" Jamie tells Oprah. "She says, 'I'm going to make sure you play the piano because I think that could get you on the other side of the tracks."
Born Eric Marlon Bishop in the small town of Terrell, Texas, Jamie says his music skills gave him access to places where African-Americans were not always welcome.
Jamie opens up to Oprah about one incident in 1984 that changed his outlook on life. He was invited to play piano at a large home for Christmas, and says that as he was playing, "They're doing black jokes. And they go, 'Oh man, we're just funning, c'mon now.' But the reason that I was calm is that my grandmother taught me something called 'furniture.' Since she worked as a maid, you know, the word is 'furniture.' Whenever they're doing whatever they're doing, you're just furniture. You don't respond."
Jamie says that on that day, he decided to leave his hometown and go to school in San Diego. He says he told himself, "I'm too smart for what's going on right now."
Oprah says his story touched her -– not only because she, too, was raised by her grandmother, but because "that's a life-changing trajectory moment that was meant to defeat you. And you took that moment and did something else with it."