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Will Smith, Before the Slap

Will Smith’s outburst at the Oscars last month derailed the broadcast, his coronation as best actor later that night and the public good-guy image he’d carefully cultivated for several decades.

But while much ink has been spilled about the slap and its meaning, far less has been devoted to what the slap truly overshadowed: the breadth and depth of Smith’s acting career. Since the late 1980s, after he transitioned from full-time rapper to sometime television actor, Smith has been building an impressive résumé onscreen, one with creative highs that have often been overshadowed by the sheer scale of his A-list success.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about Smith’s long journey from rapper to television star to bankable superhero icon, how his creative choices have paralleled his personal journey and some possible options for his next steps.

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