Will Smith has opened up about dealing with his experience with racism and police in Philadelphia. While Will Smith is often light using his words, the following comments from the latter may contain some explicit language. The actor recently sat down for a conversation with Angela Rye on her podcast, On One with Angela Rye, on Tuesday and addressed the Black Lives Matter Moment.
The 51-year-old actor spoke about facing racism at the hands of police in Philadelphia, saying, “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 n***a by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions,” the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star added. “I got stopped frequently. 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.”
Smith further goes on to explain his experience when he attended a Catholic school in suburban Philadelphia where he was first exposed to how the black community were policed in comparison in respect to the white community.
“White kids were happy when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding,” Smith shared. “There’s a part of this that people that don’t grow up in this, you just can’t comprehend. You just can’t comprehend what it feels like to feel like you live in an occupied territory”
The actor makes several references to the recent death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police. Smith further cements his thoughts by urging people “not to be consumed by their own rage”. He further urges people to discuss peaceful protests arounds the world with regards to racism and anti-police brutality.