Will Smith Performs "Men in Black" During J Balvin’s Coachella Set, Then Uses Neuralyzer on Audience

Those actually in attendance for the surprise performance likely don't remember it, what with being neuralyzed and all.

Performer in suit with mic on stage; two dancers in alien costumes behind. Used for music article context
Image via Getty/Arturo Holmes/Coachella
Performer in suit with mic on stage; two dancers in alien costumes behind. Used for music article context

The esteemed Agent J made a surprise appearance at this weekend’s Coachella festival in Indio.

To be clear, Will Smith, who played the cop-turned-agent in the 1997 classic Men in Black, didn’t simply show up and run through the song during J Balvin’s set on Sunday. Instead, he admirably went all out in front of a giant alien head stage design while being flanked by fellow MiB agents. And yes, he wore the suit-and-glasses getup that inspired his famous line from the Barry Sonnenfeld film, "I make this look good."

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Footage shows Smith gleefully delivering the "Forget Me Nots"-sampling single before Balvin is ultimately escorted off the stage by MiB agents, after which Smith whips out a neuralyzer to erase the audience's memory.

Will Smith performing “Men In Black” at #Coachella will J Balvin: pic.twitter.com/LqHgRpef2G

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 15, 2024

The original Men in Black, the soundtrack for which also featured Nas and Destiny’s Child, among others, is approaching its 30th anniversary in 2027. The Steven Spielberg-produced megahit arrived as part of an absolutely flabbergasting box office run for Smith.

In 1995, he and Martin Lawrence led the first Bad Boys to over $141 million at the global box office, with Smith’s $817 million juggernaut Independence Day arriving one year later. This was followed in 1997 by Men in Black, which bagged a worldwide haul of over $589 million and spawned a franchise that most recently enlisted Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson for Men in Black: International.

"Men in Black," the song, notably features vocals from Cheryl "Coko" Gamble of SWV. While some have speculated about the reasoning behind her not being featured in the song's ubiquitous music video, Coko herself has said that she wanted to take part but wasn't able to do so due to label concerns at the time.

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Amazingly, MiB wasn’t the only massive pop culture moment centered on Smith in 1997. That same year, he rolled out Big Willie Style, his debut solo studio album and first since his and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Code Red four years earlier. "Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It," the album’s third single, was sent to radio in 1998 and ultimately spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100.

In a recent 360 conversation with Speedy Morman, Smith looked back on this prolific period of his career and the ensuing global fame he achieved.

"Once Independence Day came out, so like Independence Day and then Men in Black, that was like everybody, the whole Earth, everywhere,” Smith said last month. "Specifically, those two back to back is what made me recognizable."

However, the arguable downside, Smith cautioned, is the "delicious poisoned honey" of first hearing word of such success, only to then be immediately expected to replicate it.

See more below.

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This coming weekend, maybe we can get Agent K on that Coachella stage too.

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