As Will Smith walked the red carpet on Sunday afternoon to help promote the documentary, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, the first person he wanted to thank was his wife, Jada.
“First of all, I want to give a shout out to my wife for demanding that I watch this documentary, and then the hard work she did to make sure this red carpet and (screening) happened,” Smith said fist-bumping the 39-year-old actress.
The Men In Black star made his first-ever appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival to help present director Shola Lynch’s documentary on American political activist Angela Davis.
Davis, who was also on hand for the screening, was a fearless advocate for civil rights in the 1970s, outspoken critic of the U.S. government, and icon for people advocating for political prisoners across the world.
“I think that one of the things that comes out of this story is we have to be active, whatever your cause is,” Lynch said outside Roy Thomson Hall. “Rights just aren’t handed to you, you have to struggle for them and that should be part of your everyday life,” she continued, praising Will and Jada and actor Danny Glover for helping bring attention to the film.
Smith said he was here to help filmgoers understand the “fire” behind Davis’ revolutionary tactics.
“She’s akin to Nelson Mandela, akin to Muhammad Ali,” 43-year-old Smith said. “One of those images and figures who was literally willing to die for what she believed, now that’s hardcore.”
“The idea of someone who’s willing to risk it all for their beliefs, that’s something that we’ve forgotten and she represents that fully,” Pinkett-Smith added.
“When I saw her story, I had no idea. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Angela Davis; I knew nothing. So I felt that it was important people get an opportunity to watch a story about a person who was willing to stand up for what they believe in.”
Free Angela & All Political Prisoners screens again Monday September 10 The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 3:00 PM; Saturday September 15 The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 12:00 PM.