Will Smith at the premiere for the film "Bad Boys for Life" at the cinema Zoo Palast in Berlin. Picture: Reuters
Will Smith at the premiere for the film "Bad Boys for Life" at the cinema Zoo Palast in Berlin. Picture: Reuters

WATCH: Will Smith talks about his experience with police racism

By Bang Showbiz Time of article published Jul 8, 2020

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Will Smith has admitted he was stopped by cops regularly in Philadelphia and they used racist slurs "on more than 10 occasions".

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 n***** by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions.

"I got stopped frequently. So I understand what it's like to be in those circumstances with the police."

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 ending 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."

While Will can understand the anger many people feel about racism, he warned about the dangers of being "consumed" by rage.

He said: "Rage is justified under oppression. But it also can be really dangerous.

"You got to be careful not to be consumed by your own rage, and that's something that I've worked really hard on."

Instead, the "Men in Black" star thinks peaceful protests are the most powerful demonstration against oppression.

He said: "Peaceful protests put a mirror to the demonic imagery of your oppressor. And the more still you are in your peaceful protest, the more clear the mirror is for your oppressor -- for the world to see and for them to see themselves.

"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. I was deeply encouraged by the innate connectivity of the protesters, globally."

However, while Will doesn't think racism and prejudice will ever be completely eradicated, he hopes the next generation will use their votes and lead with love as they strive to make changes.

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 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.

"I am happy to be alive during this time, and to serve."

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