Derouaux: ...Was created in 91 with Courtney Ross when Courtney produced the film Listen Up: The Life of Quincy Jones, and the goal of the foundation is to make a better future for the youth. But all over the world and we start with a project last year called From South Central to South Africa. And we picked five kids from South Central Los Angeles and we brought them in South Africa. They were part of different association here in L.A. and it was a very special trip I would say, because what we did when we first went to South Africa, the first time I went in South Africa in 87. And that was the first time I met Mandela. We said we're going to offer him a hundred houses and we're going to do this project with Habitat for Humanity. And that was for his 80th birthday. Then the trip was very spiritual. Changed our life in a way, because, you know, I think it's so much opportunity here. And those kids have to see what really hard is about. And they really bonded with the people at the village there in Orange Farm. The name of the village was Orange Farm. It was just very different because first they had to meet Mandela. And that was pretty amazing anyway, because even I mean, I travel with Quincy all over the world, but meeting Mandela, even for me, was something very different than anybody else because just of the ways, nice and kind and just the sweetest and generous person. And they met Mandela. They spend a week with Quincy. They were very, you know, just listened to Quincy because Quincy is a source of information anyway, just talking about all the stories and all this experience you had. And it was totally amazing when they came back here in Los Angeles after two weeks traveling all over South Africa and visiting Robben Island. That was the place where Mandela was there for 27 years, just they wanted to connect, see, connect with the people of the village. That was such an amazing thing, because when we came back, we did it kind of a meeting and get back together. And they were like, oh, my God, I'm missing my friend. And they started to connect. They started to keep a connection with those people. They're great.

Interviewer: Let's go back on a couple of things. One, just move a little bit closer to the chair.

Interviewer: Yeah. I just want to make sure I'm in terms of iris that you're not too hot.

Interviewer: No. Just get your head. Can you move your chair one more?

Interviewer: Move back a little bit.

Interviewer: So, OK, and just sit in your chair and make it real. How's that? Good. Good. That's great.

Interviewer: Let we set up a little.

Interviewer: Let's just go back on the topic sentence for that. The Listen Up Foundation was created in 1991. Let's get a slightly different frame because you began that one with. It was created. And we'll just get that as a line and then we'll do one other thing.

Interviewer: So then what I have to say, just great. In 1991 as an offshoot of the movie. Yeah. That Courtney Ross did.

Interviewer: And then in that line with what we talked about before, and it's it's funded by both private individuals and and corporations.

Interviewer: Okay. And then it's say he's working hard. And then it's mission statement.

Derouaux: Okay. And it was created in 91.

Interviewer: Right. It's private and corporate.

Interviewer: The funds are private and cowriter.

Interviewer: And it's set up really to help youth around the world. Too many ideas floating around. No. Okay. That's good, right. Let's start with the words bottomless. Enough foundation. Okay.

Derouaux: The Quincy Jones Listen Up foundation or the Quincy Jones was in that foundation.

Interviewer: Let's say Quincy Jones. Listen Up Foundation.

Interviewer: Rolling. Yeah, hold on, let you say goodbye. Here's where it gets just screwed up. I won't I won't get. And rolling so that Quincy Jones goes, okay.

Derouaux: The Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation was created in 91. And Courtney Ross produced the movie. Listen Up. The life of Quincy Jones and the goal of the foundation is to make a better future for the youth all over the world. And also, we trying to get the funds come generally with private and public companies. Because this is a charity 501c3. And it's not like Mike Milken Foundation that all the fund come from his own family. This is a charity so different. Am I blushing? No. Oh, yeah.

Interviewer: You feel like you're blushing?

Interviewer: You have to water. Yeah. How about some water? Thank you, Arnold. I also feel like we're doing a derelict every day with fresh water. That was great.

Derouaux: I did not please you. Really. Oh, thank you.

Derouaux: Oh yes.

Interviewer: The one other thing I wanted to go back on that was let's just start the idea that the foundation you used to were offered to build.

Interviewer: And I think it pledged, offered. Is it you know, it just might be pledged to build a foundation dedicated itself to build or something like that. I just think that's a word.

Derouaux: Okay, just start with the idea with Mandela or just the idea of when we did this trip in South Africa.

Interviewer: Where you were with Mandela.

Interviewer: You start with Mandela. Okay. Trip to Africa on this pledge was made when we returned to see their houses being built because that footage is great. Okay. Throw it to wait for the one no one we find, OK?

Interviewer: So what do you when you were visiting Mandela Foundation, decided to pledge or to commit to making.

Derouaux: OK, OK. In 97, no.

Derouaux: Yeah, yeah, in ninety seven. What? My first trip in South Africa with Quincy. The foundation kind of commit to. A hundred houses to build hundred houses with Habitat for Humanity for Mandela 80th birthday. And from that on, we pick the kids from South Central Los Angeles, five of them, to bring them inside Africa, to spend two weeks discover so the Africa and also have a very special and spiritual trip there. And it was it was quite special because not only meeting Mandela for them, it was also very something very emotional and special for myself, but also being with Quincy and listening of all his experience that he had and all those information because it's such a source of informations. And that was very, very special. And the really real coming back here in Los Angeles and have a meeting with them every month, we really realize that the trip changed our lives because they wanted to be more focused on whatever they had in their life happening. And they wanted to they were not just tell me the story about the refrigerator.

Interviewer: Okay. South central, start with. These were kids from the poorest part of LA.

Derouaux: Yes. Yes. These are kids from South Central Los Angeles. And they have a very heavy background, rape and incest and drug addict and very, very heavy background. And for them to realize that at worst is something worse exists and bonding with the people at the village at Orange Farm, one of the kids was saying, oh, my God, I have a fridge. You know, even if I have only orange juice in the fridge, at least I have a fridge. And that was something very good for them to realize, you know,.

Interviewer: Perfect.

Interviewer: Yeah. Quickly, double check.

Derouaux: Now and talking about the kids again, something you know, because when we came back from that trip, when we meet with them, we had mentors there. It was a very good support because it's not like, you know, we went to South Africa. They realize that it's worst. And that was it. We keep following them and supporting them because, you know, I mean, for me, the biggest disease is lack of love in the world. And you need to you really need to lead those kids and keep contact with them constantly. And that was really. And we're still doing that. I mean, Quincy sends books all the time for them when it's their birthday. They would just organize a very nice and intimate party for them. It's a very good and special relationship we have with those kids. And those are the five first kids for the foundation. We want to have thousands of them in the future. We're working on programs now that we would keep doing that kind of program because that was such a big change.

Interviewer: Put it this way. You know, the lesson I've found is that those are foundations that do things for splashy effect. You know one thing.

Derouaux: Yes.

Interviewer: Charitable funds. And clearly, that's not. this foundation is about working with individuals.

Derouaux: Yes. And, you know, I mean, Quincy. And my vision is very focused because growing up in Europe, I'm born in Africa. In Congo. And growing up in Europe, I when I left Africa was two years old. And then I went to Brussels and Paris. That's why, you know, I have very tight family, a lot of love in my family. And I'm so happy to grow up in Europe and coming back almost 30, coming back in America.

Derouaux: And I have so much opportunity. I want those kids to realize that that they can dream. They have to dream. And some some of them just want to again, they don't even allow themselves to dream. It's just about being rich, about being famous. What about about being a great teacher and just be happy, you know, just doing the best you can and really what you wanted to do.

Interviewer: That was beautiful. Describe. Well, I was going to say describe something else, but just set up. You met Quincy. And your connection with him?

Derouaux: OK. I met Quincy in 96 in Montreaux, Switzerland. And I was working at the Montreaux Palace as a VIP public relation there. And we totally connect right away. And we stayed friends for a year just talking on the phone and writing to each other and sending books to each other. And then we met a year after, invited me for a weekend in Milano. And from that on, we never separate from each other. We travel all over the world. I'm with him all the time. I'm learning each minute of my life something new. Because like I said before, this is really a source of information. And it's so weird because the life was so different. But at the same time, I feel so connected to him. Same taste. We like the same food. We like to see music and we bonding so much with everything. It's just very, very special and very magical to me.

Interviewer: You mentioned before that you were always into traveling.

Derouaux: Yes, yes, I. I mean, since I'm 18, I start traveling because I was in hotel management and I was changing countries and sought each six months to have a new experience. And traveling was a part of my life already when I was 18, very independent. And then my own apartment. My own car. You know, the little princes of my family, you know, I'm the youngest one of seven children. And really, really connected with each other like a tribe, you know, very tight with each other. Just very special, you know, to just decide coming in somebody's life, somebody opens who is harm to you and changing from Brussels to Los Angeles. New language, new papers, new more new culture, new everything. But when you love somebody, you can do that very easily. It's not a problem.

Interviewer: What's it like living with a presence in the world is as big as Quincy? I mean, we talked a little bit about.

Derouaux: Yes.

Interviewer: It started with I'm with I go with Quincy on all his business trips and I see the way the position you hold in the world.

Interviewer: That's good. Now we'll see you in these places in our film making.

Derouaux: I travel with Quincy all over the world and each business meeting is me. Each meeting, each dinner, I'm there with him. And that's very special already in our relationship. And it's just a matter of trying to. For me, being with somebody so big, I take it as a gift because I'm learning all the time. It's like I'm in a school and learning about business, learning about society, learning about anything you can imagine because Quincy is not only a producer like everybody knows you have is mine and is hands all over the world and everybody loves him.

Derouaux: And anywhere you go can be South Africa can be Paris. Milano is just everybody loves him and everybody welcoming because he's such a giving person. And that's where he bond so much with Mandela to because Mandela, such a loving person to so much generosity, kindness. Those of people are nice. They don't have to work at being nice. They're just nice. And they just love the world. And that's why they were on the same plane, kind of because they're at right away connected. Twenty seven years ago.

Interviewer: Beautiful.

Interviewer: Amen. Let's keep rolling. Our trip to Chicago. You were there.

Interviewer: What was Quincy's impression of Prairie Street, where he'd grown up.

Derouaux: On the trip to Chicago, was very special because they went there in 91 with Courtney Ross. And they had a very, very, very emotional trip because nothing a change. And they had such a hard memories and Quincy, et cetera, heavy memories in this house. It was pretty intense snuffing. It change. And now going back there. I mean, the neighbor and it totally changed people ever better life. Such an improvement. And that's so nice to see, you know, improvement and better life and better lifestyle. And people feel so comfortable with himself that the house has changed. And that's a very good feeling for him.

Interviewer: Great. I just want you to check her for head, if you would. It's my own little paranoia, but.

Interviewer: Again, I'm sorry. Do you want something? No, no, I'm good. I just.

Derouaux: It's okay. If you want me to repeat something, you just let me know.

Interviewer: You meet with. Clinton or Chirac or Nelson Mandela. You're with all these major people, but what do you think makes Quincy happiest?

Derouaux: I think what make Quincy really happy? It's just a small table of really best friend with the most beautiful dish and food and wine. And just sharing a very special moment with his friend. That's the most fun. You know, a quality moment with the people who really care for and people that really care for him.

Interviewer: What about the other side? Sort of darkest, most Quincy from everybody who tells me he doesn't tend to really. Dwell on, you know, tough times were.

Derouaux: The darkest moment, I think was when Lloyd died.

Derouaux: That was very hard and very emotional. And because, you know, they were connecting so much when they were young and they were just supporting each other all the time because they didn't really have a mother there for them. And that was very hard for him. Very.

Interviewer: Question I ask everybody, I asked Quincy, who is Quincy Jones?

Derouaux: Like I said before, I think he's just a very sweet, kind, generous person. And that's why he's always is a living legend and therefore, anybody listen to anybody and just give love without waiting for anything. I think you can only be so big if you are so in peace with yourself. And you know, where you going and have so much soul, then you can really go far and never finish and would never it would never hand. Never.

Interviewer: We were traveling on the road for two days. You were there. What about Quincy's energy?

Derouaux: Oh, my God. The energy of a buffalo. I think he never stops. He has more energy than me. Definitely.

Derouaux: And because, you know, everything is so exciting in his life, like the book. The book is something totally new. He never did a book before. It's a new audience. It's a new crowd. It's so exciting. And stuff like that happened constantly in his life because he wanted to show everything. You want to try something new. And he does it. Hundred percent with passion and love.

Interviewer: I realized in working through we skipped the spot where you are now responsible for the Listen Up Foundation.

Derouaux: Yeah. And the vice president of the foundation.

Interviewer: Let's just take that from, you know, from pick a year or a moment where you know now.

Interviewer: It's really important to me as part of the foundation to know whatever, you know,.

Derouaux: When I when I came in America in 97, I made a choice. And Quincy offer me to take care of his foundation. I had a proposition for other jobs all over the world, but I decided to pick that because it was not something it was just something very special.

Derouaux: It was humanitarian. It's something it was very important for me and for him. And it was one of my first passion because when I was eight, I was already a volunteer in a lot of different area and I wanted to give already. And I went to hotel management because I was so interesting in trips. And that's why it's so connected, because his life is just traveling. And it's part of is is giving so much should a world humanitarian size I'm talking about now. And it was perfect.

Derouaux: That's why, you know, my involvement with the foundation really start to be active in 97 and reaches building new programs and is the most exciting thing. I want to bring this foundation to what is supposed to be as big as he is. This is my gift to him.

Interviewer: Great.

Interviewer: Last summer's Paris cut.

Interviewer: I'd love you to help us take us there and help us understand what Paris and.

Derouaux: Paris is so special. He was there, so young and studying with Nadia Boulanger. I mean, that's the most special relationship I've been on. I think it's so great to travel when you're young is the best way to learn about anything to me because I did that.

Derouaux: He did that, too. And so it's so rich because you're learning about food, language, people. Culture is the best is the best way to learn anything. And Paris, a relationship that yheou have with all the French people.

Derouaux: They're all singers. And if it's just the most very emotional and sensitive relationship that he could have and people love him in Paris because they know and for so long and he studies so many things, there is start so many things there.

Derouaux: And it's just very that was one of the most beautiful concert I ever saw. And the music was so beautiful. And again, it was giving back, giving back to people that loved them endless endlessly, you know, just forever.

Interviewer: Thank you.

Interviewer: Foundation trip to South Africa, 1997, meeting Mandela. Let's just do that one one more time, which is. You've met many of the world's most important figures, and yet there's something about meeting Mandela and about Quincy's connection to Mandela that. That's special.

Derouaux: Yeah, that is very special. The first time, I think Mandella is a very special person just because of his kindness and support for his country.

Derouaux: Not a lot of people, not a lot of political figure in Africa are as he is. I mean, all all over Africa, so many damage in that continent because they don't have the right political man.

Derouaux: But here he is one of the best one ever in the world. And Quincy would definitely be his friend because you can only connect with each other and they are on the same plane. Definitely about love, about giving, about generosity.

Interviewer: What else can I ask you about, you're on a roll. That was great.

Interviewer: Sidney Poitier. The same exact same sort of thing, said, you know. It can only connect. It makes perfect sense. We talk about the trip to Chicago, we talk about how you met.

Interviewer: Yeah. And the family, maybe you notice the family. I mean, I really respect each of his children, and I think they respect me, too.

Interviewer: Let's start with I came from a big family coming here with seven, six siblings. And coming here. You've joined a big family. Yeah. Know, no, I feel okay.

Derouaux: I'm coming. I'm coming from a very big family, seven children and the youngest one and coming in a big family. It was very good in a way, because I was already used to it anyway.

Derouaux: And but I respect a lot. Each of his children and I think they do too. I just try to leave the precious time they can have with their father and just peace. And they do the same with me and we just try to make it work for the best. I mean, the youngest one, Kenya, I have. We're just friends. And they have the sweetest relationship with her mother, too. I mean, it's just we just try to make it easier. Life is already such, you know. I mean, life is so beautiful. But at the same time, you have goals and yet you want to follow your own road and you want to make it easy and just be giving. And when you're around Quincy, any way anybody will do is best. The cook, the carpenter. Anybody want to show the best face? If you have to deliver a C.D. or a steak, it has to be the best.

Interviewer: I had that guacamole, that was up there.

Derouaux: Oh, Sean. Yeah. Yeah. Sean is the new executive director of the foundation.

Derouaux: Now that we really in developing all the programs, are we really ready to have a structure with the foundation?

Interviewer: Because, you know, one more time now that we're developing.

Derouaux: OK. You know, because a night I have set a foundation in 91 wasn't really active and it's active now since 97. And we tried to create a really strong structure to it. And we have a new executive director and the foundation, Sean Amos, that is brilliant. Quincy had the best relationship with him for 10 years. And it's just gonna go forward with all the new programs. Definitely mentoring programs. Listen up Radio or the South Central from South Africa project or Quincy's legacy. All those programs would be would be are developing now, are in transition to be developed now.

Interviewer: When you say Quincy's legacy. You mean literally, you know. What is going to become of the archives?

Derouaux: Yes, exactly. The archive part, I mean, is it going to go to the Library of Congress?

Derouaux: Is it gonna go to the Smithsonian? We have to decide that. And we have to take a time because, again, it's going to have to be very personal. And he has to be the right spot to give opportunity to the youth to have easy access to it. Because, I mean, again, is the use and really make it open for them because they are the future.

Interviewer: Let me just get because we may be able to. I don't I haven't seen the footage. But when we were in Washington, just spell that out for us. We just visited the Smithsonian. And that's a possible place for, you know.

Derouaux: Yeah. When when we were in Washington really recently we visit the Smithsonian and a few months ago we visit Library of Congress and we have to make a choice for that. That would would be much further down. But we have to think of it because we want to right exposure and we want the right spot for the youth to have easy access to all the work.

Interviewer: You just mentioned it outside and it was just, I thought, a profound point that I share with you, which is that being around Quincy in a way, is like a school that he's here. Just to help us understand that part of Quincy, that he's a musician. He's a producer. He has all these things. But.

Interviewer: Like, you know, like Leonard Bernstein's like a few other people. There is that sense that you need to teach. It's just born in someone you need to share. Yeah. Yeah. OK.

Derouaux: Being a being with Quincy is like all the time being at school because you're learning all the time about new things. New project in any kind of the business part. And it's just, you know, that feeling you want to share with everybody. You want you to be a part of it. You want you to be curious enough because he's so curious. It's just interested in anything, in any books you want to read. And that's the only way you can really learn of you have to listen to somebody like that because you're learning so much from him and being curious enough to read any books like he does. I never saw him stopping reading anywhere we go. He read newspaper, anything in the back of the bottle. Reads. And if he would, he reads anything. You know, you just want to learn about anything.

Interviewer: I love that. Glad you didn't say Clorox bottle.

Interviewer: That's I think I think we got to covered. You know, I, I put this to just about everybody that we interview. If there's some you know, Sidney Lumet, this question and he mentioned this moment at the end of scoring this film when Quincy just laughed about a really tricky situation there. Any one moment that you guys have had that you think says something about Quincy and, you know, you're in a particular spot and something funny happened or. Call or present, he made that change thing.

Interviewer: I don't know if I'm can.

Derouaux: Can I tell the story about the spa when you snore?

Derouaux: Okay. Okay. Good.

Derouaux: We went to when we were doing the pre promotion of the book. We went to Arizona and its schedule was busy as usual. And we decided to go to spa to meditate.

Derouaux: Meditation room for just like an hour or so. And we go into a room and the lady is so happy to see us and and they have those beautiful chair and we just lay down there and say, okay, now we got to relax. And it's like maybe eight or seven people and I'm right next to him. You know, we're going to relax and exhale and try to relax and suddenly I hear a big snoring.

Derouaux: And, you know, I didn't know if I had to laugh or cry because, you know, people was hearing the same thing I was hearing.

Derouaux: And finally, at the end of the lesson, I had to wake him up because he was so exhausted, you know, because he gave so much in anything he does he give so much. And that was a really funny moment. And then I went, wake him up, see what happened.

Derouaux: You know, who was doing this noise? It wasn't me.

Interviewer: Yeah, that is great.

Derouaux: Because I know from the Freddy the Frog story, you have a great sense of humor.

Speaker Oh, my God.

Interviewer: And there's something about, you know, capturing Quincy sense of humor. We can't tell those jokes on the air. No, but it wasn't me. It's part of his life that that. Yeah.

Derouaux: They beat big sense of humor, but not only done and have so much expression, you know, is all an expression that I never heard before. When I came to Quincy life four years ago, I said, did I had any base in English? Because I couldn't understand one word. And it was like, okay, do I.

Derouaux: Miss something, you know? I couldn't understand his expressions.

Derouaux: So special expressions like, oh,.

Interviewer: Here's one, I ask you and you can help set this up, someone else set it up.

Interviewer: But Quincy seems to have a nickname for everyone.

Derouaux: Oh, yes.

Interviewer: Show us that and tell us. I'm sure he has five nicknames for you, but tell us one that we can put on the air. You know, this is there because Rod Temperton, worms.

Interviewer: Worms. So, you know.

Interviewer: Give us that. That ties in perfectly with that sort of jazz sense of language.

Derouaux: Yes, definitely. And yeah, Quincy, you have a nickname for everyone for Rod Temperature and it's worms. For me, it's pumpkin. Just a lot of expression, like big mist stretching for promotion.

Derouaux: You know, just the most unusual vocabulary that is so connected with jazz, of course, because it's improvisation and so special.

Interviewer: Right. Thank you so much. Doing great.

Lisette Derouaux
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Lisette Derouaux, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 24 Jul. 2001,
(2001, July 24). Lisette Derouaux, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Lisette Derouaux, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). July 24, 2001. Accessed January 19, 2022


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