Will Smith participated in a recent discussion with Angela Rye and spoke about how he was called racial slurs by the police while growing up in Philadelphia.
“I grew up under, you know, Mayor Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor and he had an iron hand,” the 51-year-old actor said during an episode of On One With Angela Rye. “I’ve been called n—-r by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions, right? I got stopped frequently. So, I understand what it’s like, you know, to be in those circumstances with the police, to feel like you’ve been occupied. It’s an occupying force.”
The two-time Oscar nominee also recalled attending a Catholic school in the suburbs and said he understands “what the disparities are in a really interesting way.”
“White kids were happy when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding,” Smith said. “There’s a part of this that people who don’t grow up in that you just can’t comprehend. You just can’t comprehend what it feels like to feel like you live in an occupied territory.”