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Will Smith Explains Why He Almost Turned Down 'Men In Black,' 'Ali,' And 'The Pursuit of Happyness'

While Will Smith has become of one of the highest-paid Black actors, he almost turned down some of his most successful roles that led him to the feat.

Samantha Dorisca

Aug 21, 2023

Christopher Reid Recalls How Kid 'n Play Lost Out On An NBC Deal That Went To Will Smith And DJ Jazzy Jeff Instead

What’s truly meant for you will always find its way. Christopher Reid, popularly known as “Kid” from Kid ‘n Play, has recounted a timeline of events that shows it.

Ngozi Nwanji

Jun 30, 2023

Jazzy Jeff Didn't Want To Appear On 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' Yet He Made Its Iconic Theme Song In 15 Minutes

Six degrees of separation is very real. It’s also the thing that brought us the dynamic duo known to the world as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Shanique Yates

Apr 14, 2023

Will Smith, T.D. Jakes And George Clinton Raise $10M For Benjamin Crump's Law School

On Feb. 8, Benjamin Crump was honored by St. Thomas University in Florida with the Benjamin L. Crump College of Law — marking the first law school in the U.S. named after a practicing Black attorney — according to CBS News Miami. Crump’s honor came equipped with huge support from several people in his circle.

Shanique Yates

Feb 13, 2023

Here's How Will Smith Is Expected To Earn A $35M Payday

Despite his recent hiatus from the public eye, Will Smith is still doing work in the background that continues to cement him as one of the best actors ever to do it. According to Variety, the 53-year-old actor is preparing to cash in on his latest project, “Emancipation.” The AppleTV+ movie is an escaped-slave thriller that Smith agreed to after years of avoiding making films centered around the subject. “This was one that was about love and the power of Black love,” Smith explained in a previous interview. “And that was something I could rock with. We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible.”

Shanique Yates

Jul 21, 2022

Nick Cannon Recalls Blowing Through $200K Gifted To Him By Will Smith: 'I Thought I Had Made It'

Nick Cannon is being very transparent about his past relationship with money early on in his career. The entertainer recently detailed how he blew straight through a hefty check he once received as a gift from Will Smith. He explained how he went broke even after the veteran actor blessed him with a check in the amount of $200,000 and financial advice. “Will found me at like 17, and by the time I was 18, the check came in, and at the time, I remember Will had a red Range Rover. And I was like ‘I want a black one,’” Cannon recalled during an appearance on Angela Yee’s “Money Pie” series. “And he’s the biggest movie star in the world, and this is ’98, end of ’98.”

Shanique Yates

Jun 3, 2022

The Will Smith Oscars Slap Meme Is Now A Crypto Coin — But Are We Surprised?

Over the past three days, reports have continued to fly about the 94th Academy Awards. On March 28, Shadow and Act reported about Will Smith and Chris Rock getting into a physical altercation following the presenter making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. While the Oscar winner has since apologized for what went down, the aftermath has yet to let up on how it sent the news and social media into a frenzy. Cryptocurrency has been a growing trend over the past year, so its community joining the recent viral Academy Awards moment was quite expected. According to Fortune, a digital coin of Smith slapping Rock was minted less than 24 hours of it airing live on the Oscars stage. At the time of March 29, the Will Smith Inu coin’s value hit a record high of 469% over the span of 24 hours. “The Will Smith Inu coin has seen its value soar 469% in the past 24 hours. And that’s 35% lower than the highs it hit at 7:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday,” the outlet then reported. And of course, there are...

Ngozi Nwanji

Mar 30, 2022

Chris Rock's Upcoming Tour Ticket Sales Spike, Cheapest Ticket Reportedly Jumped From $46 To $411

The impact following the viral moment of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars continues to unfold. Although the comedian has been ridiculed since Sunday night, a recent report has shared that the heat of the moment is now working in his favor. Fortune reports that ticket sales for his upcoming stand-up tour, Ego Death, have hit a spike over the past few days. “We sold more tickets to see Chris Rock overnight than we did in the past month combined,” ticket marketplace site TickPick shared via Twitter. We sold more tickets to see Chris Rock overnight than we did in the past month combined. — TickPick (@TickPick) March 28, 2022 Along with more people getting their hands on tickets, prices have gone up as well, according to the company’s brand manager, Kyle Zorn. On March 30, Rock will be heading to Boston’s Wilbur Theatre for his next show and the cheapest ticket has gone from $46 (as of March 18) to $411 (as of March 28). Chris Rock performs at Wilbur Theatre on Wednesday…...

Ngozi Nwanji

Mar 29, 2022

Will Smith's Dreamers VC Invest In $4M Funding Round For Wellness Startup Better & Better

Will Smith and his firm Dreamers VC have found their latest product to invest in. According to a press release, the VC fund participated in a $4 million funding round for Better & Better — a wellness startup. The round was led by Fifth Quarter Ventures (FQV) and included Azure Capital, Alpaca Ventures, and more. The New York-based company aims to innovate within the oral healthcare industry in a way that betters its customers’ health and the Earth, which is how they pulled Dreamers VC in to back their mission. “We invested in Better & Better due to the brand’s focus on social good and ethos of making better habits for everyone, that are better for the planet as well,” Will Smith and Keisuke Honda’s Dreamer’s Fund stated, according to the press release. “The brand’s innovative and unique product lineup has the potential to revolutionize personal health through existing habits, making healthier living easy. We look forward to continuing to work closely as Better & Better evolves and...

Ngozi Nwanji

Mar 23, 2022

Aunjanue Ellis Says 'King Richard' Co-Star Will Smith Increased Her And Fellow Cast Members' Salaries

During his acceptance speech for his SAG Awards win for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor” in “King Richard,” Will Smith took a moment to thank Serena and Venus Williams for the opportunity to embody the role as their father in the critically acclaimed biopic film. As previously reported by Blavity News, the award-winning actor also showed love to his fellow cast members Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton. “Aunjanue you pushed every single day. You demanded authenticity and you did it in such a beautiful and quiet, powerful way,” he said, according to Blavity News. “Saniyya and Demi these two young ladies…you guys are actors, so you know how sometimes your on-screen characters kind of bleed into real life. To walk you around this room tonight, to parent you on this film, to deliver you into this business has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.” Smith’s heartfelt speech moved both viewers at the SAG Awards and at home, but Ellis has recently revealed...

Ngozi Nwanji

Mar 21, 2022

Jada And Will Smith Sell Westbrook Inc. Minority Stake To Former Disney Execs For $60M

Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, have announced the sale of a minority stake in their production company. Variety reports that the Smiths have closed a deal that sells the minority stake of Westbrook, Inc., a production company, to the as-yet-unnamed media venture that is run by Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, the former executives from Disney. Staggs and Mayer previously made headlines when they purchased Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company for a gobsmacking $900 million. The former Disney executives were represented by mega-financiers The Blackstone Group in the deal. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were previously in talks to sell the production company outright until that deal fell through. The minority stake in Westbrook, Inc., was purchased by the pair for $60 million, for a 10 percent ownership stake. And, Variety reports the deal values Westbrook, Inc. “at just under $600 million.” As AfroTech previously reported, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith...

Did You Know That These Celebrities Have Their Own Investment Firms?

Investment firms are a necessary part of the business world. But did you know that these celebrities helm up their own? From a tennis legend to several rappers, these twelve celebs are redefining what the names and faces of investment firms look like. No longer tied to “old-money white wealth” like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank Of New York Mellon, these celebrities have proven that investments made back into the Black community pay off in much larger dividends…and cultivate goodwill in the long run. For example, Karan Wadhera — the managing partner for Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde — even left his position in the “traditional” investment firm world to work with the legendary Doggfather on his venture. He told TechCrunch that he was driven to do so to shift people’s focus onto things that weren’t getting enough attention at the time (in Casa Verde’s case, Black ownership and cannabis investment). “We have a decent-size checkbook and a fairly high profile in this space, so we see...

These 8 Celebrities Have A Stake In Sports Teams — But We Still Need More Black Equity In Sports

When Rick Ross recently announced that he was interested in investing in the Miami Heat, he became one of but a handful of Black men and women who expressed an interest in equity in sports teams. “I’m still interested in getting a small percentage of an NFL or NBA team,” he shared during an episode of Uninterrupted’s Certified Buckets podcast when asked his stance on making a sports investment move. “I’d just invest in the Heat because we got some beautiful additions. And like I say I’m one of those people that can look three seasons ahead… I’m confident, we’ll bring them big trophies back.” This isn’t the first time Ross has expressed interest in investing in sports teams. As AfroTech reported, he expressed an interest in the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. Back then, both Ross and Diddy were eyeing the possibility of buying the team but ultimately lost out to Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion offer. Currently, there are only six people of color with ownership across all three major U.S....

Will Smith, Kevin Durant, Diddy Enter The Electric Boat Market With Investment In Startup Arc

It’s a business mogul linkup! Will Smith, Kevin Durant and Diddy have joined forces to invest in Arc, an electric boat startup. Arc launched ten months ago and now with the trio of big names tied to it, the early-stage company is hoping to breakthrough the market. The startup is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Arc also announced that it has garnered funding from Smith’s Dreamers VC, Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures and Diddy’s Combs Enterprises. “Along with being world class in their respective fields, these individuals bring a wealth of experience in building brands, marketing products, and cultivating strong communities. Together, they’ll help Arc execute faster and amplify our impact,” the company wrote in a blog post. The company also said that it envisions a future where all boats are electric (the majority of watercraft run on fossil fuel). With the support of an all-star team, the company seeks to make its mission come to fruition. “All of...

Ngozi Nwanji

Nov 2, 2021

How The ‘Fresh Prince’ Is Passing The Lessons That Led To A $350M Empire To His Heirs

When Will Smith first exploded onto the scene, he had the “persona” of the “Fresh Prince.” He was also $6 million in debt. In order to get out of debt, he decided to pivot from rapping to acting. “When I moved into acting that was the first time I started applying skill to my talents,” he said. “For me, to be a movie star was the first thing I ever really wanted like that and set my eyes on.” Today, however, Will Smith has turned the entire ship around. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has a total net worth of $350 million. Most of his net worth comes from his highly successful acting career — including the “Bad Boys” franchise of films — as well as the wide diversity of his investments. Between 1993 and 2013, he made $200 million in movie salaries. He strategically began working with production companies and streaming platforms like Netflix to elevate even further. According to Hollywood Reporter, he boldly and successfully negotiated $27 million upfront when working on the...