Will Smith opens up about racist treatment he’s received
Bad Boys for Life and Aladdin star Will Smith has opened up about the discrimination he has encountered first-hand from police officers.
Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in America, the world has been looking at racism and the systemic mistreatment of people of color.
The actor appeared on the latest episode of the On One with Angela Rye podcast, where he talked about how the rules of controversial politician Frank Rizzo affected him.
“I grew up under Mayor Rizzo in Philadelphia,” Smith said.
“He went from the chief of police to become the mayor, and he had an iron hand.
“I’ve been called niggar by the cops in Philly on over 10 occasions.
The police, when I was growing up, moved with impunity in Philly.
I understand what it’s like to be in those circumstances with the police, to be occupied.
It’s an occupying force.
“White kids were cheerful when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding.
People who don’t grow up in that, you just can’t comprehend what it feels like to live in unoccupied territory.”
Speaking about how the Black Lives Matter movement has been more talked about recently than it has been in a long time,
the actor said he feels “deeply encouraged“, and that he himself has been doing research to use his position as best he can.
“When (George Floyd’s death) happened, I could immediately feel the world shifting.
I immediately went into a state of study, I wanted to prepare to meet the seismic shift of the times…
“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.“
“Peaceful protests put up a mirror to the demonic imagery of your repressor.
It was painful to watch, but I was deeply encouraged by the innate connectivity of the protesters, globally.
We’ve never been there before.”
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