Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
"Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Celebrity Life, Big Willie Style - It Ain't All Gravy?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 22, 2011 at 3:19PM

Ahhh... celebrity life! Borrowing from mobster Johnny Caspar in the Coen Brothers' classic Miller's Crossing, after he discovers just how hard it is to be top dog, “runnin' things... it ain’t all gravy!”
6
Will Smith

Ahhh... celebrity life! Borrowing from mobster Johnny Caspar in the Coen Brothers' classic Miller's Crossing, after he discovers just how hard it is to be top dog, “runnin' things... it ain’t all gravy!

Or maybe a more familiar, contemporary phrase inline with the sentiment would be, "more money... more problems?"

Not quite, but I'm sure you catch my drift. But who's complaining anyway? I'd trade lives with Will Smith any day, even if it's for one day, to experience what it's like to live the life... the celebrity life, or more specifically, HIS celebrity life.

All this came about as I was scouting YouTube looking for a clip to use in another post I'm working on, and I stumbled upon several clips of Mr Smith going through one Hancock premiere after another, each one in a different city, all within a span of about 5 days. And each time, he looked just as euphoric, mingling with countless anxious fans, as he did in the previous city's premiere, even if it was just the night before, several hundred, if not thousands of miles away.

He stops to sign autographs, shakes hands, honors kiss requests, and even dances with a band, all-the-while maintaining his signature Big Willie smile, seemingly thoroughly and gladly drowning himself in each moment!

First he's in Paris, then a few days later, he's in London, and the following night he's in Moscow, and so on, and so forth, maintaining the same brand of intensity each time, leading up until the film's US premiere, where, naturally, he most certainly was present, Big Willie style as usual, as adoring fans clamor for a mere sighting or touch of one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

But the magic doesn't end there; the traveling continues for another 2 to 3 straight months, as Hancock premieres followed in other countries around the world, and there was Will, walking the red carpet at each locale, flashing that smile, satisfying old fans, and winning new ones over with what feels like an unpretentious charm. Is it any wonder that he's the biggest star, not only in America, but in the world?

One can attribute his popularity in recent years partly to the fact that, for a few years there, before the hiatus he took after Seven Pounds in 2008, he was maybe one of the hardest working celebrities. Making the film is half the job. Promoting it is just as important, and Will certainly hasn't ever taken that phase of the process lightly. He's smart enough to know that he's not only promoting the movie, but he's also promoting himself, which will help when his next film begins its release schedule.

Despite the relentless, unwavering smiles and charm, it can't all be fun, can it? I think I'd get tired of the press junkets, the cameras, the people, the fans, the pomp and circumstance. It'll start to wear me down after awhile - not to mention the frequent trips, jet lag, etc... London one night, Moscow the next, New York the next, L.A. the next, Tokyo, and so on, and so forth... and I can't forget about family left behind!

The impression I get is that Will's approach to celebrity self-promotion isn't a popular one amongst the general celebrity population. It's work! It's well paid work, but it's still work. And he's definitely enjoying the fruits of his "hard labor."

As I started out saying, maybe "it ain't all gravy" all the time; but I'd still readily trade places with him, even if it's for a day, and experience the thrill of being Will!

I suppose if there's a point to all this, it's to emphasize the importance of near-relentless, wide promotion of your work, and especially not ignore those media outlets that might seem too small, inconsequantial or of no use to you.

For example, I recall, much earlier this year, before AFFRM's initial release, Ava DuVernay (who spearheaded the movement) seemingly decided that she would entertain interviews about AFFRM by really anyone with an audience who wanted to talk to her about the movement, whether they had an audience of 5 people, or a readership of 50, or hundreds of listeners, or thousands of viewers, or millions of pageviews, etc; it didn't seem to really matter to her. The point/goal was to reach as many people, in as many different places as possible. No snobbing. And I'd say the results speak to the efforts.

It's work, but the extra effort can make a world of difference.

I remember this old quote from Will Smith: "I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented; where I excel is in a ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy is sleeping, I’m working. While the other guy is eating, I’m working."

Here's a video clip of Big Willie in Moscow, during the premiere of Hancock, in all his Big Willie style glory:

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter