Foxx, Jordan tackle Deep South racism in Oscar-tipped film

US actor Jamie Foxx co-stars with Michael B Jordan in the upcoming film “Just Mercy.” (AFP)
Updated 08 September 2019
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Foxx, Jordan tackle Deep South racism in Oscar-tipped film

  • “Just Mercy” is the true story of a black man put on death row in Alabama in 1988 for the murder of a young white woman he did not commit
  • The movie comes at a time when the divisive issue of race is occupying center stage in the US

TORONTO: Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx on Saturday called on America to tackle the “sinister undercurrent” of racism in its justice system, as his courthouse drama set in a starkly polarized Deep South debuted at Toronto’s film festival.
Foxx and Michael B. Jordan — two of Hollywood’s top black A-listers — co-star in “Just Mercy,” the true story of a black man put on death row in Alabama in 1988 for the murder of a young white woman he did not commit.
“We wanted to make sure people understand how tragic it is, and how commonplace it is — it happens all the time,” said Foxx, who plays wrongfully convicted Walter McMillian.
“The perception of Walter McMillan is what got him (convicted), along with the sinister undercurrent of what racism can do — to just take a man out of his car and say ‘you killed somebody’ in a place he’d never been,” he added.
Foxx warned that in the age of the Black Lives Matter movement, too many black and white people remain ignorant or indifferent to racism, and said he hoped the film could awaken people to the prejudice.
He described his own experiences growing up black in Texas and “hearing the N-word being hurled so matter-of-factly,” adding that he still feels fear when a cop car appears behind his Rolls-Royce.
The film charts the work of Bryan Stevenson, who as a young black lawyer fresh from Harvard moved to America’s Deep South in the 1980s to fight for accused and condemned people without access to legal representation.
Stevenson quickly found that witnesses who helped condemn McMillian had been coerced, and began an uphill legal battle for his client’s exoneration.
“As a black man, our communities were preyed upon. And to be able to do my part — use my platform — to get this story out is extremely important to me,” Jordan, who plays Stevenson, told AFP on Friday’s red carpet.
“Stevenson is an incredible human being — he’s a real life superhero,” he added at a panel discussion Saturday.
“Just Mercy” has earned largely positive reviews, with some critics tipping Jordan for Oscar glory.
Variety said the movie “will shake you to your soul,” and praised Jordan’s “quietly amazing” performance, while IndieWire said the “Black Panther” star “practically carries the movie across the finish line by himself.”
The movie comes at a time when the divisive issue of race is occupying center stage in the United States.
White identity politics is a centerpiece of President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election strategy, while racial inequality has been a subject of debate among the Democratic candidates, including whether reparations should be paid to descendants of slaves.
The real-life Stevenson, who also attended the festival, said politicians live in a bubble too far removed from the suffering of those who are robbed of justice due to racism.
“If people saw what I see on a regular basis, they would want the same things I want,” said Stevenson, who founded Alabama-based human rights group the Equal Justice Initiative.
He said that more than 150 years after emancipation “this idea that black people aren’t as good as white people, that our lives don’t matter” endures.
“Slavery didn’t end in 1865, it just evolved. We had 100 years of lynching, segregation, all of that,” he said.
“And today, we’re still living at a time where there’s a presumption of dangerousness and guilt that gets assigned to black and brown people.”
Tom Tate, the Alabama sheriff who is portrayed as the film’s villain, was reelected six times and only retired this year, Stevenson said.
“The politics of fear and anger will make you tolerate things you’re not supposed to tolerate,” he warned.
The Toronto International Film Festival, the largest in North America, runs until September 15.


Mo Salah’s wife: Egyptian women’s icon who shuns limelight

Updated 18 September 2019

Mo Salah’s wife: Egyptian women’s icon who shuns limelight

  • Salah prefers to keep his private life in general away from the glare of the media

CAIRO: Magi Sadeq, 25, is known for keeping a low profile in the media compared to the wives of other footballers. 

The wife of Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah has become something of a celebrity in her own right after appearing with her husband while maintaining a conservative look.

Salah prefers to keep his private life in general away from the glare of the media, but sometimes there is no escaping the spotlight for his wife and daughter.

Sadeq appeared with her husband at celebrations held by the Confederation of African Football when Salah won the African Player of the Year award. She also appeared with their daughter Makka during celebrations marking Salah’s winning of the Premier League Golden Boot award, and after Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League.

Sadeq was born and raised in Nagrig, a village in Gharbia where Salah was also born. It is the same place where they like to spend their holidays and special occasions whenever they have the chance.

FASTFACT

Sadeq appeared with her husband at celebrations held by the Confederation of African Football when Salah won the African Player of the Year award.

She has a twin sister, Mohab, and two other sisters, Mahy and Miram. Their parents were both teachers at Mohamed Eyad Al-Tantawi School, where she met the future Egyptian international.

Sadeq, who maintains a simple lifestyle, fell in love with Salah 10 years before they married. Their love story was the talk of the town where they lived.

They were married in 2013 as the player started taking his first steps in Europe with Swiss football club Basel. They married when he returned home for his first holiday.  

She keeps her husband connected to his rural roots. She doesn’t have any social media accounts, and unlike other footballer’s wives, she is not interested in appearance and makeup. She prefers to wear body-covering conservative clothes.

Sadeq and her twin sister both obtained their degrees in biotechnology from Alexandria University. She is responsible for her husband’s charity work in Egypt. Her neighbors say that she helps in buying the necessary home appliances and other needs of newly married couples. She also supervises charity work and regularly attends the special events staged by her village even though she has been made busier after her husband joined Liverpool.

Salah once said of his wife: “I am unfair to Magi as I give her the least of my time due to the nature of my work. I would like to thank her for her support and for being in my life.”