Will Smith is using his voice to empower young activists and spread the importance of the message behind the Black Lives Matter movement. In an interview with political commentator Angela Rye on her podcast On One With Angela Rye, Will spoke publicly for the first time about the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. "We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before," Will said. "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."
During the interview, Will explained that present-day arguments about racial injustice stem from the historically inaccurate representation of the Black community and an alarming lack of knowledge about the true history of the US. "What's the f*cking point of contention?" Will asked, pointing out that communication is key when it comes to understanding one another. "The problem isn't completely in the system. The problem is in the hearts and minds of people. It demands that our attention begin on our hearts and minds."
"Peaceful protests put a mirror to the demonic energy of your oppressor . . . I was really encouraged by how powerfully this generation was able to hold that mirror."
Will also opened up about his experience growing up in Philadelphia and attending Catholic school, where he witnessed firsthand the disparities between white people and Black people's interactions with the police. "Rage is justified under oppression. It also can be really dangerous," Will 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 . . . Peaceful protests put a mirror to the demonic energy of your oppressor . . . I was really encouraged by how powerfully this generation was able to hold that mirror, and then the response of the world seeing and responding."
The Grammy-winning actor added that he's made it the focus of his career to project a positive image of Black men in roles of power and to instill hope in the minds of children. "More than ever, we have to understand the reality of where we came from," Will said. Most recently, Will plays the lead role of Peter in the upcoming film Emancipation, a period drama that follows the journey of an enslaved man as he fights for his freedom.
Moving forward, Will hopes to continue to take inspiration from the younger generation and remain actively engaged in the fight for racial equality in the US. "Don't succumb to lovelessness no matter how much evil you face, because [then] you poison yourself and you poison your own community," Will said. "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." Watch Will's full interview with Angela above.