Will Smith in a new GQ interview says he disagrees with the way calls to "defund the police" are being framed.
"This is a pitfall area," the actor said in the article published Monday. "I would love if we would just say 'Defund the bad police.'"
Smith said he wants Black Americans to "change our marketing for the new position we’re in" — instead of calling it "critical race theory," for example, calling it "truth theory."
"The pendulum is swinging in our direction beautifully," he said. "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."
The simplicity in the messaging behind the Black Lives Matter movement is what made it so effective, he argued, which is something the movement to reform police should try to emulate.
"Anybody who tries to debate Black Lives Matter looks ridiculous," Smith said. "From a standpoint of getting it done, Black Lives Matter gets it done. 'Defund the police' doesn’t get it done, no matter how good the ideas are."
Smith said he isn't arguing against the sentiment behind the police reform movement.
"I’m not saying we shouldn’t defund the police," he said. "I’m saying, just don’t say that, because then people who would help you won’t."
Smith's comments come ahead of his newest project, Apple TV+'s "Emancipation," a film that tells the story of "Whipped Peter," a formerly enslaved Black man. Smith said in his career he has typically wanted to stay away from projects that depicted Black Americans "in that light," instead opting to show Black excellence.
"This was one that was about love and the power of Black love," Smith said of "Emancipation." "And that was something that I could rock with. We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible."