Wise Words from Will Smith
Star gives hometown a sermon at 9th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend
This past weekend, Hollywood actor Will Smith participated in the 9th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend in Philadelphia. The event brings together unparalleled celebrity support including a host of Hollywood stars, recording artists and professional athletes. Proceeds raised benefit the local non-profit, the Charlie Mack Cares Center, a place of refuge for inner-city children founded by Mack in Southwest Philadelphia. Smith addressed award recipients and community members as the featured speaker at the I Will Be Great Leaders Awards Luncheon.
Speaking to a packed house, Smith touched on topics ranging from growing up in Philadelphia to gun violence. A few choice excerpts below:
On transitioning from a young boy to becoming the man that he is today:
"To have gone from the beginnings in Philadelphia, to sitting at a table with Nelson Mandela in Mozambique. To have been arguing and fighting with Steady B and the Hilltop Hustler's crew to standing in Soweto ringing the doorbell of Bishop Desmond Tutu's house. For me, I'm here first and foremost to honor my friend, but also to share my story so that you all can see and understand that when people say that there is no limit, hat there is really only one limit, and that one limit is your ability to create what you really want in this world. It is your ability to dream it, and believe in it. Commit yourselves. You have to commit your mind, your heart and your spirit to having a better life. Where you are today is not where you are going to be tomorrow. You are either going to be ahead or behind, but you are not going to be in the same place. A big part of that is who you choose your friends to be."
On the importance of giving back to the community:
"I believe that human beings are creatures of example. We work based on example. If a kid is born in France, then he is going to speak French. If a kid grows up in China, he is going to speak Chinese, but if you take a kid that was born in China, and he grows up in France, even though he is Chinese he is going to speak French. The idea is that the surrounding and the example are huge. As human beings you have to see it, you have to touch it, you have to feel it in order to understand it. For me, being able to come back here, and to bring my son is important. People need to see each other to understand one another. There is an exchange there that is an absolute necessity to human evolution and expansion."
On choosing the friends that will keep you focused on being great:
"Confucius says that if you look at the six people you spend the most time with, that is who you are. That's the reality of the situation. My choice having Charlie Mack and Jazzy Jeff as my friends has elevated my life. It's hugely important to choose great people that you spend your time with. Great people are going to be saying great things, great people are going to be doing great things. If that is what you want for yourself, you got to choose the people that you are going to spend your time with properly."
On the importance of giving back in person:
"Just help one person. Whatever little bit that you can do. If we just turned our minds to assisting somebody, people in your neighborhood, people in your house, we can keep a positive idea going. There is a little danger with technology that separates people physically. People look at Facebook and Twitter as communicating and keeping in contact, but there is nothing like going, talking, touching, meeting and looking people in their eyes."
On gun violence:
"I really don't want to discuss [Aurora, Colorado], but a gun sitting on a table never killed nobody. It's about people. There is deeper issues and more problems than the access to the weapons. Per capita Canadians have way more weapons than Americans do. It is not so much about the weapons as it is about the hearts and minds, and economic possibilities of the people that have access to those weapons. To me it is about the people, we have to deal with that problem."