Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in America, the world has been looking at racism and the systemic mistreatment of people of colour.
The actor appeared on the latest episode of the On One with Angela Rye podcast, where he talked about how the policies of controversial politician Frank Rizzo affected him.
"I grew up under Mayor Rizzo in Philadelphia," Smith said. "He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand.
"I've been called n****r by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions. The police, when I was growing up, moved with impunity in Philly. I understand what it's like to be in those circumstances with the police, to be occupied. It's an occupying force.
"White kids were happy when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding. People who don't grow up in that, you just can't comprehend what it feels like to live in an unoccupied territory."
Speaking about how the Black Lives Matter movement has been more talked about recently than it has been in a long time, the actor said he feels "deeply encouraged", and that he himself has been doing research in order to use his position as best he can.
"When (George Floyd's death) happened, I could immediately feel the world shifting. I immediately went into a state of study, I wanted to be prepared to meet the seismic shift of the times...
"We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before. The entire globe has stood up and said to the African American people: 'We see you and we hear you. How can we help?' We've never been there before."
"Peaceful protests put up a mirror to the demonic imagery of your repressor. It was painful to watch but I was deeply encouraged by the innate connectivity of the protesters, globally. We've never been there before."
For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.
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