Will Smith has recounted how growing up in Philadelphia was like to be a black man. In a conversation on Tuesday with Angela Rye, the 51-year old actor indicated that he faced racial prejudice at the hands of cops.
Smith says he was called nigger by cops in Philadelphia
Smith addressed the Black Lives Matter movement stating that he has been called nigger by cops in Philadelphia more than ten times. He recalled growing up in Philly under Mayor Rizzo, who went from police Chief to the mayor. He recalled that Rizzo was heavy-handed.
The I Am Legend Actor stated that police often stopped him, and thus he understands the situation when a black man has an encounter with cops. He said that it feels like being occupied in such circumstances with a law enforcement officer.
The two-time Oscar contender recounted his experiences joining a catholic school in the suburbs. This is where he saw first-hand the inequalities between white people’s relationship with cops against those of the black community. He says white kids were always happy whenever the police showed up while his heart could be pounding. Smith said that there is a part of the experiences that those who don’t grow up in it can’t just understand. He says that one can’t understand feeling like you are living in occupied territory.
Smith lauds the Black Lives Matter movement
Recently a statue of Rizzo was brought down following the growing protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many black folks that have been killed by police.
According to Smith, we are in situations that were have not witnessed before. He told Rye that he is delighted to see the Black Lives Matter movement garner so much support. Smith said that he understands the anger blacks feel after years of oppression and systemic racism. The actor said that he was glad the whole world stood up in solidarity with African Americans.