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‘This Is Not A Slave Movie…’ (Exclusive) Will Smith Speaks On ‘Emancipation’

Actor Will Smith is making his rounds on a strenuous press tour ahead of the release of his upcoming film Emancipation. In the movie, Smith plays the role of Peter, an enslaved man who “risks his life for his family and freedom.” The 54-year-old recently stepped into The Shade Room and spoke with Jade Whiteside, sharing that — contrary to what many may think — the film “is not a slave movie.”

This is not a slave movie. This thing is something else — like Antoine [Fuqua] put together something else… You have not seen this one! This is — and I can say it about Antoine because he’s not allowed to say it about himself — but he made a masterpiece. This thing is far beyond anything you’ve seen, put together this way. This is — it’s not a movie about slavery. It’s a movie about freedom. It’s a movie about faith. It’s a movie about triumph.

Smith continued by saying he recently screened the film in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the film concluded, he said, “Black folks [were] standing up and cheering in the movie theater.”

And that’s a real feat that Antoine was able to achieve with no shying away from the brutality, no shying away, whatsoever, from the pain and degradation. But also to be able to elevate us to a place of power and gratitude and pride and inspiration. So I would say to those people, this ain’t that.


Smith Also Made His First Late-Night US Talk Show Appearance Since “Slapgate”

Smith also made a stop, appearing as a guest on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

While there, he reflected more on the infamous Oscar incident with comedian Chris Rock, adding that his childhood upbringing may have contributed to his actions that night.

It was a lot of things, it was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That’s not who I want to be…

Noah quickly interjected, adding some grace for Smith.

That’s not who you are. I think everybody can make a mistake.

Smith continued, adding that he was “going through something that night.” Though that didn’t warrant his actions.

There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just – I lost it, you know. I guess what I would say is that you just never know what somebody’s going through… I understand how shocking that was for people … I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.

Smith Hopes His Actions Don’t Penalize His ‘Emancipation’ Co-Stars And Crew

As The Shade Room previously reported, Smith has also grappled with the effect his actions that Oscars night may have on the outcome of the upcoming film.

The only discomfort my heart has around that is that so many people have done spectacular work on this film. My hope is that my team isn’t penalized at all for my actions…Everyone has done such spectacular work.

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