In 2008, Stephen Colbert met Will Smith for the first time while he was still the host of "The Colbert Report," and Smith told the late-night host he'd like to be the first black president. This was amid President Obama's first campaign, to provide a little context.
On Tuesday night, Smith joined Colbert on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and the two reminisced about this.
In retrospect, Smith said politics definitely interested him, and he has a lot of strong views on various issues, but he thinks his true talents lie elsewhere. Not to mention, he noted, being president ain't easy.
Colbert then suggested Smith would be really good at playing the role of Obama on the silver screen. "You guys both have swagger," Colbert said.
Smith told Colbert he and President Obama have actually talked about it in this past, and the president gave him his blessing. He said,
Colbert and Smith also touched on more serious topics, and the late-night host asked the actor whether or not he thinks race relations have gotten better over the course of Obama's presidency. When President Obama came into office, there were hopes the US was moving toward overcoming many of its issues regarding race and the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow.
Today, however, racial tensions are very high, Black Lives Matter is at the forefront of American politics and there have been a number of highly publicized police killings involving minorities this summer alone.
In response to Colbert's question, Smith stated,
Hearing this from a world-renowned black actor who starred in a groundbreaking television show that touched on many racial themes is definitely encouraging.
And, the man definitely has a point: Racism is nothing new, we're all just getting exposed to it in new ways. Smartphones, and other devices that can record videos, exposed us to racial violence that's always been occurring, but we're all just more aware of it now.
Perhaps Will Smith would make a better real-life president than he thinks.
Will Smith for president! Fresh Prince of the White House.