Jamie Foxx praises Shalva Band

"This is so beautiful and close to my heart! What an inspiring group of talented young men and women!"

July 25, 2019 15:55
1 minute read.

Anael Khalifa (center) and Dina Samteh (left) of the Shalva Band perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv May 16, 2019. (photo credit: screenshot)

Oscar-winning actor and singer Jamie Foxx praised the Shalva Band, an Israeli music group made up of people with special needs that is sponsored by the organization Shalva, in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“This is so beautiful and close to my heart!” Foxx wrote. “As many of you know, my sister is the face of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. What an inspiring group of talented young men and women!”

He has credited his younger sister – DeOndra Dixon, who has Down syndrome – with teaching him what is really important in life. She has lived with Foxx since she graduated from high school, and has danced with him on stage at the Grammy Awards and appeared in one of his music videos.

The Shalva Band gained international exposure when it performed at the semifinals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May. The eight-piece band – which includes people with blindness, Down syndrome and other physical and developmental disabilities – performed a rendition of “A Million Dreams” from the film, The Greatest Showman.


The performance was greeted with great enthusiasm, and the thousands who shared the clip on social media included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wrote, “You moved the world!”

The band garnered attention when it made the finals of Hakochav Haba (The Rising Star), an Israeli talent show, the winner of which represents the country at Eurovision. Although the Shalva Band received high marks, when it became clear that the Eurovision finals would be held on Saturday night, the musicians dropped out so they would not have to violate the laws of Shabbat.
The Shalva Band performed at the official Independence Day ceremony – a week before Eurovision – and brought down the house.

Shalva, the Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, provides services for thousands of people with disabilities from infancy to adulthood and their families, and gives equal access and opportunity to all participants regardless of religion, ethnic background or financial capability.

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