Redd Foxx Revealed The Lengths He & Best Friend Malcolm X Went To Get White Women
When comedic legend, Redd Foxx (born Jon Sanford), and Nation of Islam/civil rights icon, Malcolm X died, their causes of death were very different, much like the eventual life journeys of these two former best friends were. Foxx passed away from a heart attack at the age of 68, in 1991; while Malcolm X was brutally assassinated at age 39, in 1965. The sharp contrast between these two greats was surprisingly quite the opposite when they were youngins, as both later noted in books and/or interviews.
Was Spike Lee’s Character In “Malcolm X” Portraying Redd Foxx?
In the biographical book, “Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story” (written by Michael Seth Starr), Foxx shared wonderful memories of his friend, Malcolm X:
“Malcolm was about the same color as me. You could hardly tell us apart. …We both had those konks [hair straightening] and our hair was red with a high pompadour and we had the zoot pants- just like the ‘high drape pants’ Billie Holiday used to sing about in her blues.”
Malcolm X and Redd – who went by the nicknames, “Detroit Red” and “Chicago Red” back then- became friends due to their similar circumstances at that time. Redd migrated from Chicago, IL to Harlem, NY, and Malcolm X migrated from Detroit, IL to Harlem – both fleeing tough home environments. Both were in pursuit of a prosperous life in Harlem and became hustlers together, though they sometimes barely made enough bread to get by:
Via “Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story”: Redd confided to Anthony Major, who ran Redd Foxx Productions in the mid-1980s, that Malcolm was the only person Redd really trusted. “They used to rob places together and sleep on rooftops together. Redd said he knew [Malcolm] had his back, and trusted him. If Redd was in a fight, he could turn his back and could know that Malcolm was gonna be on the other side, fighting with him.”
When they couldn’t afford a place to stay for the night, Jon (Redd Foxx) would invite Malcolm up to his “humble abode” on the rooftop of 707 St. Nicholas Avenue. “We had about five hundred pounds of newspapers up there,” Redd Foxx remembered. “Newspapers is some of the warmest stuff going on.”
Redd then explained the other hustles he and Malcolm X cooked up:
“When we got a job at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, we had all kinds of hustles going. It was the busiest joint uptown and we made a little extra bread upping the checks and so forth,” recalled Redd Foxx.
Foxx also admitted that he and Malcolm sold plenty of zoot suits they’d stolen from a nearby laundry business, on top of the same rooftop where they oftentimes slept:
“We’d sell one or two of them a day off the roof,” Redd recalled. “We never got caught for that. I guess that balanced out some of the stuff I had to pay for later that I didn’t do.”
They also developed a steady clientele selling marijuana and committing various other petty crimes. Then they figured out ways to hustle themselves into the arms of White women…
What Redd Foxx & Malcolm X Did To Get White Women
In the biography, Redd Foxx revealed that neither him, nor Malcolm X gave a damn about politics and society’s issues at that time…unless it had something to do with women or food:
“I remember one time Malcolm and I joined the Communist Party. … Maybe not joined it, but signed something or other because they had White broads and food, and I hadn’t had food in about two weeks.” Jon and Malcolm…were given a pile of Communist Party literature they were expected to digest. “You’d dance with the chicks, smell the perfume, and eat the sandwiches,” Redd recalled. “You just couldn’t avoid being part of things like that because there was food, man – stacked high cake and lemonade, even boloney you could put in your pocket. I’d have joined the Ku Klux Klan if they’d had sandwiches.”
Although they chased White women, Redd said he always ended up with Black women, which he didn’t seem to mind:
“I was always the one that wound up with the Black chick,” he said. “The light-skinned cats got the Black women; when a White woman wants a Black man she wants him real black; she wants some lips and some color to go along with it.”
They eventually parted ways because Redd didn’t want to expand into the more hardcore crimes (pimping, racketeering, selling hard drugs, etc.) that Malcolm X eventually dabbled in, which landed him in prison for 6 years:
“Malcolm didn’t have the showbiz quality, so he didn’t give a damn what he got into,” [Redd Foxx] said. “He’d take on anything to get some dough. He was a little bit more aggressive, but I’d rather be sleeping with a broad and go somewhere [to a club] and do fifteen minutes of comedy.”
Good thing both Malcom X and Redd Foxx ultimately found a way out and prospered onto greatness that will forever touch the lives of millions. Job well done.