Will Smith may be one of the world’s biggest stars now but he was once a kid in Philadelphia experiencing similar situations to those the Black Lives Matter movement addresses today.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star told political commentator Angela Rye this week that he was called “n***er” by police several times.
“I grew up under, you know, Mayor Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor and he had an iron hand,” Smith said. “I’ve been called n****r by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions, right? I got stopped frequently. So, I understand what it’s like, you know, to be in those circumstances with the police, to feel like you’ve been occupied. It’s an occupying force.”
“What’s going on inside a person’s mind to just be able to do that to another person?”– Will Smith on the death of George Floyd
Smith said he attended Catholic school in the Philly suburbs which showed him how differently the police worked in black neighbourhoods versus white ones.
“White kids were happy when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding.”
He continued that the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota, made him think of his own sons.
“I got two black sons. So, when I saw this cop with his hands in his pockets I’m like, ‘What’s going on inside a person’s mind to just be able to do that to another person?”, he said.