Hollywood A-Listers Attend Will Smith’s Screening for Film Inspired by Photo of Whipped Black Slave


Notable celebrities surrounded Will Smith for a screening of his new film, Emancipation.

The elite Hollywood actor took to his Instagram on Monday to post a selfie with celebrity friends at the event.

According to Apple TV+, Smith plays the role of Peter, a man on a journey toward freedom.

The plot follows the triumph of Peter’s escape from slavery as he evades “cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana.”

“The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of ‘Whipped Peter,’ taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. One image, known as ‘The Scourged Back,’ which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.”

Vanity Fair reported the film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed Denzel Washington‘s Training Day, for which he won an Oscar in 2001. In addition to Smith’s role, the film stars Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, and Mustafa Shakir.

Celebrities in attendance for the private event included Tyler Perry, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Kenya Barris, and Dave Chapelle. According to Good Morning America, the A-listers shared their thoughts on social media after the screening.

“I’m still haunted by #Emancipation. It’s truly powerful, moving and captivating,” Perry wrote on his Instagram story. “And the conversation afterwards with this group was legendary.”

“This night was truly one for the books! An amazing and brilliant group of friends got together and witnessed TRUE ART,” Barris wrote on Instagram.

“The conversation after was the effect of what anything and everything we as creatives do in this industry hope for.”

Smith’s Emancipation is set to debut in U.S. theaters on Dec. 2 and hits Apple TV+ a week later on Dec. 9.

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