Will Smith has admitted he was stopped by cops regularly in Philadelphia and they used racist slurs “on more than 10 occasions”.
This week, Will Smith spoke with attorney and political commentator Angela Rye about the Black Lives Matter movement. The actor shared his own experiences with racism and opened up about how he thinks the younger generation can use their “rage” to reshape the future.
The “Bad Boys” actor admitted he got stopped “frequently” by officers in Philadelphia, who used derogatory language towards him because of his skin colour.
Speaking on podcast “On One With Angela Rye”, he said: “I grew up in Philadelphia. I grew up under Mayor Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand. I’ve been called nigger by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions.”
“I got stopped frequently,” he added. “So I understand what it’s like to be in those circumstances with the police. To feel like you’ve been occupied. It’s an occupying force.”
Will said he learned of the disparities between the way Black and white people view policing after attending a Catholic school in the suburbs. “White kids were happy when the cops showed up and my heart always started pounding. There’s a part of this that people who don’t grow up in that, you just can’t comprehend. You just can’t comprehend what it feels like to feel like you live in an occupied territory,” he stated.
The 51-year-old star thinks the global Black Lives Matter protests are unprecedented and he’s pleased so many people have pledged their support to end racism. He said: “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.”
Will also recounted watching the video of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police officers. “I’ve got two Black sons driving around. So when I saw this cop with his hands in his pockets, I’m like, ‘What is going on inside of a person’s mind to just be able to do that to another person?'” he said.
Watch the full interview below:
By: Dammy Eneli