Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith attend the premiere of Apple Original Film's "Emancipation" at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles on Nov.30, 2022. This is the first time the Smith family has been photographed together since the infamous Oscars slap. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and their children, Trey Smith, Willow Smith, and Jaden Smith walked the red carpet for the Emancipation premiere on Wednesday night, marking the first time they have all been seen in public together since the infamous Oscars slap.
Smith and his family dressed in color-coordinated outfits. Will Smith and Trey Smith were both in shades of purple while Jada Smith, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith were dressed in black and white ensembles. The premiere took place at Los Angeles' Regency Village Theater.
Emancipation will be released in select theaters on Friday, heading to Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) it tells the real-life story of Peter, a slave whose surname has been lost to history. Peter escaped slavery in Louisiana to join the Union Army.
While there, medics took a photo of his back which was horrifically scarred by a whipping. The photograph captioned "Whipped Peter" is credited with bringing more attention to abolitionist causes after it was published in Harper's Weekly in 1863, two years before slavery ended in the U.S.
The last time Smith was seen in public with his family was at the Oscars where he won the Best Actor award for King Richard, the biopic about Serena and Venus Williams's father, Richard Williams.
That was also the night Smith earned the condemnation of a global audience when he slapped presenter Chris Rock after Rock made an offhand joke about Jada. At first, it appeared to be a comedy bit until Smith followed up by saying "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth."
Afterward, Smith issued an apology via social media. He resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortly after and was banned by the organization from attending the Oscars for 10 years.
But on the red carpet, he was all smiles as he made his way through a gauntlet of media.
"When I took this film, I envisioned the potential service it could be to modern social conversation. I thought it would be a necessary reminder of some of the roads we had gone down as a country in the past to potentially avert any of those similar paths," Smith told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet. "To have a movie like this in this time for me, and even this time in my life is poetic perfection."
Pinkett Smith did not speak to reporters at the premiere. Her only public comment on the scandal has been an Instagram post that said "This is a season for healing and I'm here for it."
Smith told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show this week that he "lost it," and that he was going through something. But he said his biggest disappointment would be if his transgressions impacted the work of his fellow artists.
"The one thing that's killing me is that Emancipation is Antoine's masterpiece. He has created an absolute masterpiece. Bob Richardson (DP), Ben Foster, and just all the way down, these top artists in the world have done some of the best work of their career, and the idea that they might be denied because of me, that is killing me dead."
Fuqua could not make the premiere as he's in Italy filming Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington. He said despite any controversy over the film's subject or Smith's actions at the Oscars, that he was committed to making sure it was completed and released.
"I had to make this film. I knew it would take everything we got and then some to get it done," Fuqua said in a videotaped conversation after the film's premiere screening. "[But] there was something spiritual and moving about the film, just reading it off the page...about love, faith, family, freedom - it just had to be done.
There was no way we weren't going to finish this film. The film was hard to make, but I think well worth it. Nobody ever abandoned ship, and they could've many times, through hurricanes and tornadoes and COVID and heat and alligators.... But it's been an incredible journey, and I want to thank everyone for going on the journey with us."
Star Will Smith attends the premiere of Apple Original Film's historical drama "Emancipation" at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles on November 30, 2022. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo