‘The Fresh Prince Is Here’: Will Smith on the Impromptu Audition That Changed His Life

Quincy Jones’s get together fell on the identical night time because the Soul Practice Music Awards. He was being honored with the Heritage Award for Profession Achievement and the birthday/after-party was being held at his Bel-Air mansion. JL acquired me on a 3:00 p.m. out of Detroit and I landed in LA simply because the solar was happening.

All of it felt surreal, just a little head-spinny. I had flown on my own, which was unusual and uncomfortable, and now, as site visitors backed up on the 405, I had a second to ponder, Why the hell am I driving to Quincy Jones’s home?

It was about thirty minutes from LAX to Quincy’s. Once I pulled up, there was valet parking. Quincy Jones had valet parking at his home—twenty, red-coated valet parkers in his driveway. It appeared just like the British had been coming. It was proper up there with Sue Ellen Ewing’s fucking breakfast horse.

By the point I arrived, the get together was on full bang. Everyone was there, from Steven Spielberg to Tevin Campbell; Stevie Surprise and Lionel Richie had been arriving as I pulled up. That was an excessive amount of for me; I knew I didn’t belong right here. And proper earlier than my fragile self-image satisfied me to bounce, I noticed Benny Medina, a well-recognized face—a life preserver as I used to be drowning in one more sea of insignificance and irrelevance et cetera.

“Hey man,” Benny referred to as out, “you made it!”

I wished to say, Yeah, man, fuck you, I’m out. However as a substitute, I stated, “Yo, man, don’t take that jacket off—belief me, you received’t see it once more.”

Benny was carrying a type of Versace, Picasso-looking jackets. He laughed, tugged on the lapel, and stated, “If tonight goes properly, it’s yours. Let’s go meet Quincy.”

I simply thought that was too quick. Couldn’t I a minimum of get a drink first? Or considered one of them little toast factors with some cheese or some salmon or one thing? Rattling. You’re jus’ gon’ rush me to satisfy Quincy Jones from the driveway? I have to stretch; you’re gon’ have me pullin’ a hammy out right here.

The middle of the get together was in Quincy’s large front room—two-story vaulted ceilings, and a pair hundred of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters and A-list rainmakers. Quincy was holding courtroom, a sorcerer in a designer jacket with a piano keyboard embroidered down the left aspect. Benny and I enter, and earlier than Benny could make the introduction, Quincy and I catch eyes.

“Heyyyy!” Quincy yells out. “The Recent Prince is right here, y’all!”

That may have been embarrassing if anyone had really given a shit. Nevertheless it didn’t matter to me, as a result of an important individual gave a shit. Quincy is like that—he loves and enjoys individuals. Each individual is a singular murals to him. He doesn’t play superstar favorites; he genuinely finds one thing attention-grabbing about all people.

Quincy bounds throughout the room, arms open, and grips Benny and I in a single embrace.

“Welcome man, welcome,” Quincy gushes.

“Thanks, Mr. Jones. This home is wonderful!” I gush proper again.

“Oh, you like this? That is Bel-Air! Benny tryin’ to set the present in Beverly Hills. I preserve tellin’ him, man, fuck Beverly Hills! Bel-Air make Beverly Hills appear to be public housin’! Did Benny inform you concerning the present?”

“Nicely, just a little bit. I imply, uh, he instructed me he grew up in Watts. And he moved in with a wealthy household . . .”

“The place you from?” Quincy stated.

“Philly,” I stated with the requisite swag and pleasure that Philadelphians use to be sure you know that our metropolis is best than yours.

“Ah, man, I love Philly!” He leaned in and whispered, “I had some issues occur in Philly we not even gon’ discuss.” Then he laughed and nodded, signifying some unspeakable wilder days in his youth.

“OK, that’s it, it’s excellent: Your character’s from Philly. Will from Philly! Then he goes to Bel-Air!” He was again at full quantity now. Quincy had clearly been tastin’ just a little bit; I figured it was his home, and his birthday, and his Achievement Award, so if he wished to be drunk and loud, then gotdamnit, Quincy, you be drunk and loud!

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/11/will-smith-book-excerpt-fresh-prince-quincy-jones | ‘The Recent Prince Is Right here’: Will Smith on the Impromptu Audition That Modified His Life


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