Lessons drawn from Will Smith’s memoir (so far)

Will Smith has been no stranger to the spotlight, especially in recent months. It’s not always been for the right reasons, however. I’ve taken the time to read some of his 2021 memoir, “Will,” to gain a little more insight.

I’ve read just over 100 pages at the time of writing this, and I’m im- pressed with Smith’s ability to tell stories about his upbringing. He’s always been able to grab an audience’s attention with his words, which he describes was major fuel for his early rap career.

So far, the most interesting part of the book details how Smith fell in love with battle rapping as a high schooler and eventually became the Fresh Prince.

This came at a time when the DJ was significantly more popular than the rapper or master of ceremonies (MC) that performed with them.

Hip-hop was relatively new at the time, and the culture was catered more toward the DJ’s ability to mix records. As technology advanced, DJs spent more focus on their craft and less on interacting with the crowd.

Therefore, the MC’s job was to hype the crowd up and compliment the DJ’s work. I also enjoyed the story of how Smith met DJ Jazzy Jeff. The two would become a popular hip-hop duo in the early ‘90s.

Despite Smith’s early success, he writes about still feeling like a coward in the wake of the abuse that his mother suffered through. Not being able to protect her in that regard is what would continue to haunt him going into his adulthood.

I feel that this is one of the most relatable components of the book. Everyone has dealt with some regret, trauma, pain, and/or disappointment at some point in life. For celebrities, those emotions are put on display for the entire world to see. Smith made a spectacle out of the 2022 Academy Awards by slapping Chris Rock, a highly regarded comedian.

However, I argue that this emotional outburst was only a symptom of what Smith is going through mentally.

I understand that he must be held accountable for his actions at the Os- cars. However, it would be nonsensical to ignore the sequence of events that led up to the slap that was heard across the world.

In addition to childhood trauma, Smith also has dealt with problems inside his marriage. Jada Pinkett Smith, his wife of 25 years, has been open about her infidelity following an episode of her talk show, “Red Table Talk.”

The Oscars incident simply piled onto the embarrassment experienced by Will. In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before someone was going to snap.

I also don’t believe that the two of them should have made their marital problems public in the first place.

Nonetheless, I’m sure I’ll read more into Smith’s background as he transitions into his acting career. I appreciate reading because it gives me a different perspective than what we may see play out in the limelight. Overall, the book has piqued my curiosity in finding out the root of some of his personal problems.