Will Smith Shares Rihanna's Reaction To "Emancipation"

He also explained why "Emancipation" is more than just a movie about slavery, but a story of inspiration.

BYErika Marie
Apple Original Films' "Emancipation"  Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Fans are happy to see Will Smith in a better space. Although the actor's actions earlier this year at the Oscars have been widely condemned, Smith's fans eagerly awaited his return to the spotlight. There were rumors that his latest film, Emancipation, would not see the light of day after Smith slapped Chris Rock. However, following explanations and apologies, the Fresh Prince icon is back in action.

Emancipation will open in theaters next week, but ahead of its release, Smith has hosted several screenings. These included October's get-together with Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, and according to Smith, the singer enjoyed the film.

Read More: Will Smith Poses With Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Dave Chappelle, Tyler Perry, & More

"Rihanna loved the cinematography," he told E! News. "She could not get over the look of the film and how it felt." Smith also joked about not having to question his audience on their thoughts.

"The thing that's great with Black people is they talk to the screen the whole time, so you don't have to ask people's opinion," he said. "So, I didn't have to ask anybody's opinion from the room."

In a separate interview with Complex, Smith detailed wanting to inspire with Emancipation more than create a movie about slavery.

Read More: Will Smith Connects With The Lakers For “Emancipation” Screening

"It was critical for [director] Antoine [Fuqua] and I both, you know. The question was, 'Could we make a movie set in this period that would be inspiring?'" said Smith. "And in my career, it is a big part of why I avoided slavery, in general. I didn’t want Black folks—I didn’t want to show Black folks in that light. And then this film did something different."

"Antoine didn’t make a movie about slavery. It’s a movie about freedom, it’s a movie about love, it’s a movie about family, it’s a movie about faith, it’s a movie about endurance and gratitude, and it’s a movie about the power of the spirit of the African-American."

Watch the trailer for Emancipation below. The film hits theaters on December 9.


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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.