Will Smith Accepts Special Honor at AAFCA, First In-Person Awards Speech Since 2022 Oscars

On Wednesday evening, Will Smith made a comeback to the awards season celebrations and delivered an acceptance speech for the Beacon Award at the African American Film Critics Association Awards. This was Smith’s first in-person speech at an awards ceremony since the 2022 Oscars, where he created controversy by slapping Chris Rock on stage. [1]Source

Charmaine Bingwa, Smith’s co-star in “Emancipation,” and Gil L. Robertson, a cofounder of AAFCA, introduced Smith and Antoine Fuqua, the director of the historical drama, at the beginning of the event. Following Fuqua’s brief acknowledgment of AAFCA, Apple TV+, and the cast and crew of the film, Smith took the stage and shared his experience of making the movie.

“‘Emancipation’ was the individual most difficult film of my entire career. It was all outdoors, that is true,” Smith joked, earning laughs from the crowd.

“It was the second day of shooting and 110 degrees… I was in a scene with one of the white actors. The actor decided to ad-lib. So we’re doing the scene. I did my line. He did his line. And then — ad lib — he spits in the middle of my chest,” Smith said as the crowd groaned. “The actor felt that the ad-lib had gone well. So we do take two. I do my line. He does his line — and spits in the middle of my chest again… In the distance, I hear a voice. And Antoine says, ‘Hey, let’s do a take without the spit.’ And at that moment, I knew that God was real.”

During filming, Bingwa shared that Smith had to repeatedly wash her feet for the movie’s opening scene, which she joked about, calling it a “great foot massage.”

Smith expressed his gratitude towards Gil and AAFCA, the attendees, and Apple for their unwavering support, emphasizing that Apple prioritized the story’s importance over its cost. He praised the tech giant’s ability to accomplish tasks, stating, “They make iPhones. They can do it.” [2]Source


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