Will Smith warns David Letterman 'Don't say nothing about my mother' in Netflix interview

Will Smith warns David Letterman 'Don't say nothing about my mother' in Netflix interview
Pete Davidson jokes about Will Smith slap in final Saturday Night Live ...

On the latest episode of David Letterman's Netflix interview series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, a small title card appears saying: "This episode was recorded prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony."

The reason for the disclaimer becomes clear quickly as Smith recounted feeling unsafe in his household growing up after witnessing his father beat up his mother. The King Richard star says he felt cowardly not protecting his mother from his father.

"The first line of the first chapter is 'I always thought of myself as a coward'," Smith says. The actor also explained that when people called him "soft" it made him angry.

Sign up for our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

As the conversation turned toward Smith's career as a musician and actor, Letterman asked Smith how his mother felt about him not pursuing college. But before Smith could answer, Letterman clarified that Smith's mother was referred to as "mom-mom" not just 'mom'.

"Don't say nothing about my mother, Dave," Smith interjected

"No, I didn't - I don't believe I did," Letterman responded quickly.

For a brief moment, it seemed tense but then Smith erupted into laughter. The two laughed as Smith pretended to get aggressive at the sound of another speaking about his mother.

The entire exchange was eerily reminiscent of Smith's actions at the Oscars in which he slapped Chris Rock for speaking about Jada Pinkett-Smith poorly.

However, understanding Smith's childhood and desire to protect his family gave some meaning to the joke.

In Smith's acceptance speech for his Academy Award for Best Actor, he spoke about defending his family just as Richard Williams had. Seemingly as a way of explaining his actions.

But in his interview with Letterman, the Philadelphia-born actor got real and explained that while he can try, there is no way to fully protect his family.

"You can't protect your family, that's not real," Smith told Letterman. "Protection and safety is an illusion. You have to learn to live with the reality that any moment, anything can be gone in one second."

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)