BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
Press Office
Search the BBC and Web
Search BBC Press Office

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

BBC Worldwide Press Releases


Will Smith - my granny told me off for swearing

The actor and rapper Will Smith has revealed that his granny told him off for swearing when he first started writing lyrics - and her influence helped to shape him into a profanity-free family man.

He also tells the new Radio Times that a meeting with Nelson Mandela changed his whole perception of Hollywood, even though he had "a beautiful time" after being nominated for an Oscar for Ali.

On his grandmother, the 33-year-old says: "She found some of my early expletive-littered lyrics and wrote on them, 'Dear Willard, intelligent people do not use these words to express themselves.' Now Jada's taken over and I measure how I'm doing based on the look in her eyes. Actually, I believe every man, deep down, measures his worth based on a woman's approval. It's in our nature."

In March, he attended a screening of Ali in Johannesburg with the former African president, Nelson Mandela. "He told me that in prison, he was only allowed to watch one movie every six months, and that he looked forward to it more than anything because he saw such hope in cinema. It revealed the worst human tragedies and the greatest human possibilities, and he told me never to underestimate the power of what I do - to make people laugh, cry and think."

Smith admits he enjoyed being on the Academy Award shortlist this year even though Denzel Washington was named Best Actor ahead of him.

"There were 30 days between the nominations and the awards, and it was a beautiful time. You're part of this elite group - people like Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry - and there's a party every night. I wasn't disappointed by the result, first because rappers look down on awards, so I'd be emotionally trained not to let it faze me, and second because Denzel has been robbed of so many honours, that when his name was announced there was a collective sigh of approval."

This interview is taken from the 27 July - 2 August edition of Radio Times, on sale on Tuesday 23 July.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy