Will Smith Details The Night Michael Jackson Gave Him The Thrill Of His Life (Video)
At 49 years old, Will Smith may be the champion of social media. The actor, MC, comedian, and media mogul has put a fresh spin on several platforms by injecting his personality, wit, wisdom, and family dynamics for the public to see.
In a “Storytime” video, Smith does it again. He recalls meeting one of his childhood heroes, Michael Jackson. The approximately four-minute short uses music and animation, to assist Will’s voice and face in telling a funny and captivating tale about a crazy night at the BET Awards.
“I wanted to meet him my whole life,” says the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native. “I see him from across the room, but he was just too far. Gah, I just couldn’t get to him [with] the crowd. The day is going by, and I’m like, yo, I’m about to go this whole award show, and I’m not gonna meet my idol. I was like, I gotta meet Mike! So they come and they take me [backstage] to present my award, and I see him; he’s across the room. [I see] a path. I’m about to meet Mike; I’m about to meet Mike! Then, all of a sudden, you see the crowd go into a little bit of a frenzy. Then my security comes over, and they grab me, ‘We gotta move, we gotta move!'” When Will asked his detail what was happening, they had three words: “Suge Knight happened.”
The co-founder of Death Row Records was also backstage that night, in what appears to be 1995—the same night Michael was the first artist inducted into BET’s Hall Of Fame. Knight has a reputation for disrupting award shows throughout his nearly 30 years in the music business, including evading arrests, controversial remarks at the microphone, and acts of violence from his label staff and affiliates.
“[Security grabs] me, and the run and take me across the room. I look, and can’t see. People are scurrying around,” Smith says, admitting that by this point, he was lost in the backstage area of the venue. “[Security] opens this door and shoves me into this dirty-ass utility closet. It’s mops and interrogation light-bulbs swinging at the top. I’m in there, and I’ve got my head up against the door, and I’m listening. People are running and I’m hearing screaming and all of that stuff. I’m like, yo, this is crazy; Suge is a lunatic.” Smith pauses his story to jokingly ask if Knight is still currently incarcerated. “All of a sudden, it starts to get quiet, and I hear ‘hey,'” imitating Michael Jackson’s voice. “I turn around, and Michael Jackson is behind me in the closet.”
Using animation, Smith recreates their conversation. It began with “The King Of Pop” asking what caused the scramble. As The Fresh Prince replied, “Suge and them trippin’,” Jackson reportedly responded, “Suge’s always trippin’. All that success and he can’t figure out how to be happy.” The two then discussed comic books. Although Smith is not a collector, he admits he faked it to keep the conversation with his idol going.
“I’ve got Michael Jackson [as a] captive audience, all to myself. Of all the questions I could have asked, everything I could have said—’what’s the glove made out of? What’s Tito like? Can you moonwalk forward? Is Annie okay?’—all that stuff, [and I] blew it.”
Smith finishes his story that Michael’s security pushed him aside with no recognition. “I’m laying back in the mops. Then Mike looks, he turns around, and he makes eye contact with me, and he says, ‘Bye, Will. See ya’ ’round.'”
The video ends with a real Polaroid of Jackson, Smith, and stern-looking security guard. Will also thanks Suge for creating the series of events that allowed him the thrill of his life.