Actor Will Smith says he was the target of racial slurs growing up in Philadelphia

Will Smith shared his experience being the target of racist slurs by law enforcement officers in Philadelphia.
Will Smith shared his experience being the target of racist slurs by law enforcement officers in Philadelphia.PHOTO: WILL SMITH/INSTAGRAM

LOS ANGELES - Joining the list of black actors speaking up about their encounters with racism, Will Smith opened up about how he had been the target of racial slurs, growing up in Philadelphia.

In a conversation with political commentator and activist Angela Rye on her podcast, On One With Angela Rye, the actor expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, sparked by the murder of black civilian George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a police officer.

According to People magazine, Smith shared his own experiences about being the victim of racism by the hands of law enforcement officers.

"I grew up in Philadelphia. I grew up under Mayor Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand," the 51-year-old says, referring to Francis Lazarro Rizzo Senior who was Philadelphia police commissioner from 1968 to 1971 and the city's mayor of from 1972 to 1980.

Smith continued: "I've been called (the n-word) by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions. I got stopped frequently. So I understand what it's like to be in those circumstances with the police."

Speaking of the BLM movement, the Bad Boys actor said that he was excited to see the traction that the movement has gained.

"I am pledging my unending devotion to the evolution of my community and the evolution of my country, and ultimately the world, towards the greatest harmony that we'll be able to create. I am happy to be alive during this time, and to serve."