Will Smith revealed he has been called the N-word by police officers on “more than 10 occasions” as he reflected on the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 51-year-old actor spoke to political commentator and activist Angela Rye on her podcast, On One With Angela Rye, about his own experiences with racism throughout his life.
Will grew up in Philadelphia, and was just four years old when the notoriously racist Frank Rizzo went from chief of police to becoming the mayor of the state, and the instances of racially-motivated incidents of police brutality increased dramatically under his watch.
“I’ve been called n**ger by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions,” Will said. “I got stopped frequently. So I understand what it’s like to be in those circumstances with the police.”
Will was reflecting on his own experiences in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, after he was killed when an officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes while arresting him.
As for his hopes following the renewed attention on racially motivated police incidents, the After Earth star continued: “We are in a circumstance that we’ve never been in before. The entire globe has stood up and said to the African American people, ‘We see you and we hear you. How can we help?’ We’ve never been there before.”
And now the father-of-three is hoping the next generation can learn to use their privileged positions to help aid the world in a more compassionate outlook.
“I am pledging my unending devotion to the evolution of my community and the evolution of my country, and ultimately the world, towards the greatest harmony that we’ll be able to create,” he concluded. “I am happy to be alive during this time, and to serve.”