Actor Will Smith has shared his memory of being a victim of racial slurs while growing up amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
The star said that growing up as a black man in West Philadelphia was scary for him as he was frequently insulted by cops and his heart always raced whenever they came around.
He made the comments while making an appearance as a guest on the On One with Angela Rye podcast.
According to Will, he was usually called ‘nigger’ by the police many times, revealing that it was the time of Mayor Rizzo (he went from being the Chief of Police to Mayor).
“I grew up in West Philadelphia under Mayor Rizzo. He went from chief of police to being the mayor, and he had an iron hand”, Will stated.
Rizzo was known for strongly opposing de-segregation in schools and having a generally tense relationship with the black community.
Speaking further, Will said:
I’ve been called ni***r by the cops in Philly on more than ten occasions. The police when I was growing up moved with impunity in Philly. I understand what it is like to be in those circumstances with police, to feel like you have been occupied. It is an occupying force. White kids were happy when cops showed up, but my heart always started pounding.
There is a part of this that people who don’t grow up with it you can’t comprehend what it actually feels like to live in an occupied territory. We’re in a circumstance that we have never been in before. The whole globe stood up and said to the African-American people, ‘We see and we hear you. How can we help?’ We have never been there before.”
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