Will Smith opens up about racial discrimination and his experience with the police

  • Will Smith opened up to Angela Rye about growing up in Philadelphia and experiencing racial discrimination on too many occasions.
  • The 51-year-old said he was called the n-word by police on "more than ten occasions".
  • On protest action in the US he said he was hopeful that people are finally recognising what has been going on. "The entire globe has stood up and said to the African American people: 'We see you and we hear you.'" he said.


Will Smith recently opened up about his experience with law enforcement and racism when he was growing up.

The actor recently said on the podcast On One With Angela Rye that he was called the n-word multiple times.

"I grew up in Philadelphia. I grew up under Mayor [Frank] Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand," he said.

According to People, Rizzo began to push an anti-desegregation agenda. Earlier this month, his statue was one of many removed amid Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others.

Describing one too many racial encounters, Will said he'd had the racial slur thrown at him "by the cops in Philly on more than ten occasions". "I got stopped frequently. So I understand what it's like to be in those circumstances with the police."

The 51-year-old also commented on the ongoing protest action. "We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before," the actor 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."

Will joins many other celebrities who've shared their experiences of racial discrimination by the police. Niecy Nash recently revealed law enforcement pulled a taser on her son, suspicious of whether he could afford the car he was driving. Tiffany Haddish spoke about being sexually assaulted by a police cadet and how a gun was pointed at her on another occasion when an officer found her smoking in her car.

The Night School star said in an interview with CNN: "Every time I get pulled over, I think to myself like 'Damn, you know, I work all hard to be recognised.' I shouldn't be afraid when I see those lights come on behind me, right? I shouldn't feel like, 'Is this gonna be the last day that I'm on earth? I shouldn't feel like it's dangerous to be born the way I was born.'

"It's scary, you shouldn't be scared to be in America. It's supposed to be the land of the free, the home of the brave and you're supposed to be able to have a pursuit of happiness. We're just trying to pursue that you don't get killed today."