When it comes to immeasurably influential figures in pop culture, it's hard to think of someone who fits the bill as well as Will Smith. The iconic and multitalented pop culture hero, who recently announced that Bad Boys 3 is definitely happening and is also set to appear in the highly-anticipated Suicide Squad, has been shaping the progression of culture for nearly three decades, and he doesn't plan to stop any time soon. MTV recognized Smith's inestimable impact this year by presenting him with the Generation Award, MTV's own lifetime achievement award.
The tribute to Smith at the MTV Movie Awards traced the progression of Smith's achievements in pop culture history, although covering everything he's done would have taken all night. It kicked off with a mash-up of the Fresh Prince theme song, Men in Black, and "Gettin' Jiggy With It" by The Lonely Island, an amalgam that paid tribute to Smith's acting career and his hip hop origins, MTV News reports. Queen Latifah, a personal friend of Smith's, commended him for paving the way for hip hop, and Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry highlighted Smith's work as an actor, which has brought issues of diversity in Hollywood to the forefront of the public consciousness and crushed black stereotypes.
When Smith got on stage to accept his award, he reminded everyone in a matter of seconds what it is we all love about him. Making jokes about his age and displaying that bright and good-hearted soul of his, Smith emphasized the pride he feels as a guiding force in Hollywood. "I’m dedicated to being a light in this world. I want to help people. I want to be a light," he said. "I want to play roles that have dignity. There’s so much suffering in this world, and I just want you to know I am dedicated ‘til I die to light and to love."
This June marks 30 years in the business for Smith, and as a recipient of MTV's Generation Award, he joins the ranks of other important figures such as Reese Witherspoon and Johnny Depp. Smith is the kind of leader who has opened numerous doors for others by fully dedicating himself to the work that fulfills him, a brave feat that deserves endless recognition and appreciation.