In a 2018 interview, Will Smith opened up about a violent fight he had as a teenager that ended up sending his former classmate to jail.
It happened when Will transferred from a predominantly white school to a mostly Black school in Philly, as reported by I Love Old School Music
“I went to a catholic school up to 8th grade, with all White kids and probably two or three Black kids… And then I went to my neighborhood high school in 9th grade, that was 99% Black kids. So, the first day I walked into 9th grade, I walked into the lunchroom…and it was like 500 kids. … To this day I don’t know why I did this, I’m sure it was because I was nervous…and I have a thing with fear, I don’t like being scared. … So…I walked in, I looked around, and I said ‘Excuse me, can I have y’all attention please?!!…[pointing to himself] He’s here!…He’s here right now, thank you! Thank you!’”
One kid decided to check Smith on his attention-seeking antics. Watch the actor tell it via the clip below.
Smith said there was “this one dude” who said “Man, don’t nobody give a f*ck that you here. “I said ‘Hey, just give me ten minutes, your girl gon’ care.’”
And that’s when things turned violent.
“As I was walking up the stairs, he cracked me in the side of my head with the [combination] lock and I went down, I was out, I’on remember nothing. I still got the lump on my head…”
Once school officials and Will’s father got involved, the kid who assaulted Smith was hauled off in handcuffs by police.
“I couldn’t believe it had escalated to a kid being removed from school. And I was laying in bed that night, just feeling like SH*T. And I had the recognition that I had caused this kid to throw his life away. …He was kicked out of school and I never knew what happened to him, but I have a sense that it didn’t go well. And I felt a DEEP sense of regret and a deep sense that I had caused an emotion in a person that made them do that,” Smith shared.
“That feeling of regret, turned into a sort of FEAR of how much power I had. And I was like, ‘Everything I say and do has THAT kind of effect on other human beings?!’ And in that moment, I decided that I would never walk into a room and do ANYTHNG, other than inspire, uplift, and enlighten people to be the greater versions of themselves. And I would never do ANYTHING that would cause people to rile up the darkest, dirtiest parts of people. …That night, I made that promise to myself and I made that promise to God. And it’s something that has completely shaped how I approach people, how I approach moments, how I walk into rooms, how I deal with every human being on this earth.”
The Hollywood icon then apologized to his former classmate.
“To him and to his family, I want to send my deepest apologies and I hope my words and my…sincerity reach you. And I HOPE your life has gone well for you.”
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