Will Smith says he intentionally 'avoided making films about slavery' because he 'didn't want to show Black people in that light'

In a new interview with GQ, Will Smith talked about his acting career. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Will Smith stated that he deliberately "avoided making films on slavery" in his early career.

The actor said that he didn't want to portray Black people in such a negative light in a GQ cover story.

Smith will be starring in "Emancipation", a new movie about "the power and love of Black people."

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Will Smith stated that he avoided movies about slavery throughout his acting career.

Smith, 53, stated that he has always avoided films about slavery in an interview for GQ's November 2021 cover. "In the beginning of my career, I didn't want Black people to be seen in that way."

The actor said, "I wanted to become a superhero." I wanted to portray Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to take on roles similar to those you would give Tom Cruise. It was "Django" that I first considered, but I wasn't ready to make a film about slavery and vengeance.

Smith had previously spoken out about her decision to decline the title role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film "Django Unchained", back in 2015. Jamie Foxx was ultimately offered the part.

He said that it was all about the creative direction of his story during a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a perfect story. A man who learns to kill to rescue his wife, who was taken as a slave. This idea is brilliant. It was only that Quentin, Quentin, and I couldn’t see [eyes to eyes]. "I wanted to tell the most beautiful love story African-Americans have ever heard."

Smith said, "I wanted that movie to be made so badly, but it had to be love stories, not revenge stories." Smith said, "I don’t believe violence is a reaction to violence."

Smith rose to fame as a rapper prior to his starring role in the 90s sitcom, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

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Will Smith in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" NBC

He was a star in many box office smashes, including "Independence Day," "Bad Boys", and "Men in Black." He was the DC Comics' Deadshot character in "Suicide Squad" in recent years and the genie in Disney’s live-action version of "Aladdin".

Smith will portray Peter, a runaway slave in his Apple TV+ movie titled "Emancipation". Based on a true story, the movie's premise was inspired by a famous photograph of Peter's scarred back from being whipped. The image, which was published in The Independent 1863, is known as "The Scourged back."

Smith said to GQ that he was interested telling the story of slavery because it was "about love and power of Black love."

He said, "And that was something I could rock with." "We were going make a story about Black love making us invincible."

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