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Will Smith Marks Music Comeback With Inspirational ‘You Can Make It’ Performance

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Will Smith’s shocking slap of comedian Chris Rock on the 2022 Oscars stage echoed around the world, but since then the 55-year-old actor has been focused on changing his tune with a return to music, debuting his first new song since 2017 in a performance at the BET Awards on Sunday night.

Smith, an Academy Award-winning actor and four-time Grammy Award-winning rapper, took the BET stage alongside collaborators Fridayy and the Sunday Service Choir to perform his new single, “You Can Make It,” which was released Friday.

Surrounded by a ring of fire, before singing, Smith spoke: “I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but whatever’s going on in your life, I’m here to tell you you can make it.”

Contemporary gospel artist Kirk Franklin also joined Smith on stage to emphasize the song’s message of resilience and hope.

“The harder you fall, the higher you soar,” Smith rapped. “Just because I’m stuck on a bad chapter, it doesn’t mean, in my life, I’ve got to throw away the whole book,” Franklin added.

The “Fresh Prince” teased his new song on social media before its release, saying he was excited to perform it at the BET Awards. “Through some of my darkest moments, music has always been there for me—to lift me and help me grow,” he said. “It’s my humble wish that it can do the same for you and bring you all the joy and light you deserve.”

Smith kicked off his music career as half of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. He then found Hollywood stardom by portraying a fictional version of himself in sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired from 1990 to 1996. After starring in multiple blockbuster films including Bad Boys and Independence Day, he starred in 1997 in the first of the sci-fi movie franchise Men in Black and debuted his solo music career with its chart-topping original theme song. His debut solo album Big Willie Style went on to become one of the best-selling rap records of all time.

His high-flying reputation, however, took a massive fall after the incident at the 2022 Oscars, at which he won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard. He later apologized for his outburst, which was apparently prompted by Rock joking about the hair of Jada Pinkett-Smith, Smith’s wife who suffers from alopecia.

Despite this, Smith’s career appears to be thriving again. The fourth installment of his Bad Boys film franchise released in June, and he joined reggaeton artist J Balvin at Coachella in April for a surprise performance of his “Men in Black” song.

He also may have more music on the way. “I have a project that is, without question, the most personal and powerful music that I’ve ever made,” Smith shared in May with Extra. “So, you know, I'm going to sneak that out on you in a month or so.”

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