Will | Will Smith (Primary Contributor), Mark Manson

Summary of: Will
By: Will Smith (Primary Contributor), Mark Manson


Embark on an emotional rollercoaster as you delve into the world of Will Smith and his journey from Philadelphia to Hollywood. This summary of ‘Will’ by Will Smith and Mark Manson covers the life, struggles, and rise to fame of one of the most recognizable actors in the world. Learn the challenges he faced, his accomplishments, relationships, and life lessons, while gaining insight into the impact the world had on him and vice versa. Discover the roots of hip-hop and its significance in Will’s life, how a chance encounter led to the birth of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and how he picked himself up after hitting rock-bottom. This summary promises an engaging and profound exploration of Will Smith’s life.

Hard Choices

Will’s mother wants him to go to college, but music is his passion. Will’s grades start to slip, and Mom is worried. She and Daddio are at odds over what’s best for Will. Daddio believes in pursuing one’s passion, having given up on his own dreams while Mom puts a premium on college education. But Daddio agrees to Will’s music career on one condition: if he doesn’t succeed in a year, he goes to college.

The Birth of Hip-Hop

In the 1980s, hip-hop was still new and underground. DJs played records at New York street parties, looping the most danceable parts of popular tracks. Eventually, DJs started using two turntables to keep the beats going longer, and MCs were introduced to talk to the audience and hype them up. The most creative MCs then started talking in rhymes that matched the rhythm of the DJ’s beats, which Jamaican immigrants called “rapping.” Will Smith, known as the Fresh Prince, entered the hip-hop scene as the best rapper, with a unique talent for making the crowd laugh. His father’s work ethic and his relentless practice were the driving forces behind his success. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s debut single and album were released in 1986 and 1987, respectively, and the following album sold more than three million copies and won a Grammy. Will Smith’s invincibility was shattered by failures, but his unrelenting work ethic provided the foundation for his lasting success in hip-hop and beyond.

Will Smith’s Downward Spiral

After learning about his childhood sweetheart’s infidelity, Will Smith spiraled into a self-destructive path of materialistic obsession and reckless behavior. He tried to fill the emptiness with expensive cars, women, and success but found himself feeling even more miserable. His next record was a flop, and he owed a large sum of income tax. Broke and with FBI closing in on his gangster friends, he left Philadelphia for Los Angeles in 1989. Will’s downfall teaches us that material possessions and external validation can never bring lasting happiness.

From Watts to Bel-Air: The Serendipitous Journey of Will Smith

Benny Medina, a Black and Hispanic TV producer, asked Will Smith to act in a script based on his life story. After overcoming initial doubts, Will impressed Quincy Jones at an impromptu audition, leading to the creation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In less than six months, Will went from a young man from West Philadelphia with no acting experience to a Hollywood star.

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