Will Smith’s post-Oscar spiritual journey has led him back to his old high school.
On Thursday, actor Will Smith made an appearance at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. He went to speak with students taking a digital media class and the young adults were elated, as shown in a video of the event.
In addition to his remarks, the 54-year-old Oscar winner posed for a group photo with students and also cheesed for some selfies. He also looked at an old yearbook, with the photo of one “Willard Smith” in it, and interacted. Outside the school, he also greeted shocked students who were taking selfies with him as well as shaking hands and giving hugs.
The school district shared video and photos on social media, writing a posthumous thank you to Will Smith. Theaca classmate of his or had been fortunate enough to meet him when he’d previously returned to the school for visits. (Some students talked about how amazing it was that Smith took some of the top students with him all the way to Africa just so they could meet Nelson Mandela.) As is usual with anything on the internet, there were also people in the comments section debating quite heatedly about Smith’s controversial actions at this year’s Academy Awards Ceremony back in March.
Will Smith made a surprise visit today back to Overbrook High School. 📹: School District of Philadelphia. pic.twitter.com/X4MrybNJNI
— O.J. Spivey (@OJPhilly) November 3, 2022
On Oscars night, Smith stormed the stage and hit comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. Smith said he was defending his wife; Rock apparently didn’t know there was a medical reason behind the co-host’s bald head. After the slap, Smith went on to win Best Actor but resigned from the Academy and is banned from attending for 10 years.
After the scandal, Smith went on a “spiritual journey” to India for yoga and meditation. He’s stayed away from public events and has kept his social media presence light with videos of spiders, toilets and such.
Emancipation, Smith’s first film since the scandal, is set to be released on December 2. The story follows an enslaved man who escapes from a Louisiana plantation. In order to promote the project, Smith has been conducting his own press tour with private screenings of the film instead of interviewed by media or making public appearances.
Last month, he showed his film at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C., which was hosted by the NAACP. A few days ago, he joined Tyler Perry to show the film Morehouse College in Atlanta and just before thathimself did at another historically Black college, Dillard University. He also had a private screening for only celebrities who are friends of his, including Rihanna and Dave Chappelle, as well as onefor the L.A Lakers .
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