Will Smith Shares the Advice His Grandmother Gave Him as He Stepped Onto His Tour Bus for the 1st Time

Will Smith has been a household name since his days on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but the actor and musician has been in show business far longer than most people realize.

Smith, now 53, has starred in several blockbuster movies, making it easy to forget that he actually got his start in entertainment by performing as an MC in a hip-hop duo.

Will Smith smiling in front of a black background
Will Smith | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

More recently, Smith has forayed back into acting in big-time projects, but he still hasn’t forgotten the advice his grandmother gave to him as he went on his first tour. 

His grandma gave him advice for his first tour

Smith’s recent movie release, King Richard, follows the story of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams. In a charming interview on Entertainment Weekly, his young costars, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton are the ones asking the questions.

About halfway through the interview, the pair ask Smith for advice he would give them for their future careers, and he responded by giving them the same message his own grandmother gave him when he was young. 

As he was stepping on his tour bus for the first time, his grandmother told him,

“‘Be careful how you treat people on your way up, because you might have to pass them again on your way down’ … That is so true… Be conscious of the people you are interacting with because you are going to see them over and over and over again … for the next decades of your career.”

He then emphasized that the young actors are likely to run into the same interviewers, camera crews, and other behind-the-scenes people over the years, and the way they treat those people will follow them wherever they go. 

Will Smith’s early rap career

Before becoming an actor, Smith first made a name for himself in music with his childhood friend Jeffrey Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff, who later played Jazz on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

After meeting at a party in 1985, the pair decided to form a group that became DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, according to Biography.

Their first single “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” became a hit in 1986, and their first album, Rock the House, brought Smith enough success to make him a millionaire before he was 18. 

Although Smith was an excellent student, he had no college ambitions, especially after the early success that came with his rap career.

Smith and Townes were praised for their clean lyrics that contrasted other rappers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and their songs discussed relatable teen problems with a twist of humor that parents and teens could both appreciate. 

Smith’s and Townes’ success

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince saw significant success throughout their music career together, even garnering a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for their hit song “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. Their most successful song, “Summertime”, was released in 1991 and earned them another Grammy Award. 

“Summertime” climbed the charts, eventually peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Smith then transitioned to acting when NBC signed him on to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990. 

Although DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince haven’t released any new music together for quite some time, the pair have remained close friends.

DJ Jazzy Jeff even collaborated with Smith on his solo albums, and the duo was a fan favorite of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, especially after Townes became a series regular. 

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