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Will Smith Gives His Take On ‘Defund The Police’

Will Smith doesn’t completely support the push to “abolish” or “defund” the police, telling GQ in his profile released on Monday that he prefers to side with just Black Lives Matter.

“‘Abolish the police. Defund the police.’ I would love if we would just say ‘Defund the bad police.’ It’s almost like I want, as Black Americans, for us to change our marketing for the new position we’re in. So ‘critical race theory,’ just call it ‘truth theory,’” Smith told the outlet. “The pendulum is swinging in our direction beautifully. And there’s a certain humility that will most capitalize on the moment for the future of Black Americans, without discounting the difficulty and the pain and the emotion.”

Spurred by the death of George Floyd, protests erupted across the nation. Millions of people engaged in civil marches as organizations began asking local and federal governments to change the police budgets as well as training techniques that ensure officers are properly equipped with skills to handle community issues without violence.

Smith, however, says the “simplicity” of the Black Lives Matter movement “was perfect.”

“Anybody who tries to debate Black Lives Matter looks ridiculous. So when I talk about the marketing of our ideas, Black Lives Matter was perfection,” the actor said.

“‘Defund the police’ doesn’t get it done, no matter how good the ideas are,” he said, adding, “I’m not saying we shouldn’t defund the police. I’m saying, just don’t say that, because then people who would help you won’t.”

Activists have asked that the money divested from these multi-million dollar budgets be reinvested into various communities through a number of initiatives highlighting education, housing, mental health and rehabilitation programs. Several major cities like Los Angeles and New York City have already taken steps in doing so.

The actor, who’s been vocal in the past about some of his previous run-ins with law enforcement, according to USA Today, shared why he felt the most recent wave of the Black Lives Matter movement has been so effective in making changes between police and civilians. 

“The entire world was in lockdown, watched what happened to George Floyd, and stood up with one voice and said, ‘We see it. We agree,’” he said. “That’s never happened before and with that the opportunities are unlike they’ve ever been.”

Smith is currently working on a new movie, Emancipation. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film chronicles the life of a character called “Whipped Peter,” an enslaved man whose scarred back became the poster image of the practice’s atrocities. 

“I’ve been trying to get movies made for a long time. And the amount of money that Apple is paying to tell the story [of Emancipation] is unprecedented,” Smith said. “And those opportunities are globally present and plentiful.”

“I just want to encourage Black Americans to take the acknowledgment and seize upon the present global opportunities,” he shared. “I would just like us to argue less about certain things and pay attention to the big ripe fruit.”

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