Will Smith Reflects On New Film "Emancipation" After 1st Screening

Will Smith spoke about his new film "Emancipation" following a recent screen, making for his first time addressing a crowd since the Oscars.

BYCole Blake
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Will Smith explained his decision to star in the new film, Emancipation, after the movie's first screening at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference, hosted by the NAACP, on Saturday. The comments were Smith's first time addressing a public crowd since his appearance at the Oscars, where he infamous slapped host Chris Rock.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery,” Smith said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I never wanted to show us like that. And then this picture came along. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith.”

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Emancipation was directed by Antoine Fuqua, of Training Day and The Equalizer fame, and stars Ben Foster and Steven Ogg, in addition to Smith.

“This is a film about the heart of a man—what could be called the first viral image,” Smith continued. “Cameras had just been created, and the image of whipped Peter went around the world. It was a rallying cry against slavery, and this was a story that exploded and blossomed in my heart that I wanted to be able to deliver to you in a way that only Antoine Fuqua could deliver.”

Emancipation is expected to release sometime in 2023 through Apple TV+, although it does not have a confirmed release date. If the film is successful enough to earn a nod from the academy, Smith will be unable to celebrate at the Oscars, as he's been banned for 10 years.

Check out Smith's comments below.


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About The Author
Cole Blake is currently an Editor at HotNewHipHop based out of Brooklyn, New York. He began working at the site as an intern back in 2018 while studying journalism at St. John’s University. In the time since, he’s graduated with a bachelor's degree and written extensively about a wide range of topics including pop culture, film & television, politics, video games, sports, and much more. He’s also covered music festivals such as Gov. Ball and Rolling Loud. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Wednesday or on weekends. On the sports front, Cole’s a passionate NBA and NFL fan with his favorite teams being the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Lakers. He also roots for the Yankees whenever he finds himself at Yankee Stadium or the Red Storm when in the company of other SJU alumni. His favorite hip-hop artists are billy woods, Earl Sweatshirt, Cam’ron, MIKE, and Mach-Hommy.