Will Smith was public enemy No. 1 for a second there. After the actor slapped Chris Rock at this year’s Academy Awards, many in the industry turned on Smith. But in Hollywood, memories have a pretty short half life. Recently, more and more celebrities have said that Smith deserves another chance.
That second chance seems to be coming sooner rather than later. A major project of Smith’s, the film Emancipation, was screened in DC this weekend.
Emancipation was shelved by Apple, its distributor, after Will’s slap incident, but now it’s seeing the light of day, albeit in a limited capacity. The film was shown at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st annual Legislative Conference, and got a warm reception. The event was hosted by the NAACP, and Smith and director Antoine Fuqua presented the film to the audience.
Smith discussed his motivation behind doing the film. In the past, he’s avoided doing movies about slavery, but to him, Emancipation is more about determination and perseverance.
People in the audience seemed to enjoy the picture. “I had the pleasure of watching the film #Emancipation and can’t begin to tell how powerful this is for OUR community and OUR history,” wrote NAACP president Derrick Johnson. “It’s a story of adversity, of resilience, of love, and of triumph. Thank you Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith for sharing your gifts!”
The film’s screening may indicate that Apple is back in on the film, and has plans to release it in the not-so-distant future. Will Smith is still banned from attending the Academy Awards for the next decade, so if the film gets any Oscar nominations, someone else is going to have to accept them.