Will Smith opens up about experiences with police harassment, racism

Lawrence Kim
July 11, 2020

"It's like everybody was sitting at home, looking at their devices when what felt like a new atrocity to some people, but was happening over and over again for African Americans", said Smith.

Will Smith has spoken about the racial abuse he was subjected to at the hands of the police while growing up in Philadelphia.

"We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before. How can we help?"

"I grew up under, you know, Mayor Rizzo". Besides, he says that "I got stopped frequently". You know, he went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand. Mayor Frank Rizzo, who served as a police commissioner from 1968 to 1971, and then as the Mayor of Philly from 1972 to 1980, was famous for his stiff relationship with the city's Black community.

Bad Boys for Life and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Will Smith has spoken about the racist interactions he had with police while growing up in Philadelphia.

Instead, the Men In Black star thinks peaceful protests are the most powerful demonstration against oppression. However, while he understands rage as a response to racism, he feels that oppressed people need to rise above their rage in order to create meaningful change.

Speaking about the protests sparked recently by the death of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and Breonna Taylor, Smith said: "We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before".

But he warned that "rage is justified under oppression but it also can be really risky. But it also can be really unsafe", he said. "You got to be careful not to be consumed by your own rage, and that's something that I've worked really hard on".

He also discussed protesting, saying that he believes peaceful protests are the way to get your point across.

He said: "Peaceful protests put a mirror to the demonic imagery of your oppressor".

He said: 'Don't succumb to lovelessness no matter how much evil you face, because [then] you poison yourself and you poison your own community. I immediately went into a state of study, I wanted to be prepared to meet the seismic shift of the times.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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