Over the years, The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has gone to such luminaries as Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, George Carlin and Ellen DeGeneres. Next year, it's going to the guy who made us crack up as Happy Gilmour. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts said Tuesday that Adam Sandler would receive the prestigious award at a gala on March 19. Read more: Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy “Adam Sandler has entertained audiences for over three decades with his films, music, and his tenure as a fan favorite cast member on ‘SNL,’” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter in a statement. “Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing." The 56-year-old actor-comedian, who this year starred in the well-received Netflix basketball drama-comedy “Hustle,” has created a list of funny films, like “Happy Gilmore,” “Billy Madison,” “Grown Ups,” “Big Daddy,” “The Longest Yard” and “The Waterboy.” His role as Howard Ratner in “Uncut Gems” garnered Sandler several nominations and awards, including winning the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Award.
Jin, the oldest member of K-pop supergroup BTS, began his 18 months of mandatory military service at a frontline South Korean boot camp Tuesday, as fans gathered near the base to say goodbye to their star. Six other younger BTS members are to join the military in coming years one after another, meaning that the world's biggest boy band must take a hiatus, likely for a few years. Their enlistments have prompted a fierce domestic debate over whether it’s time to revise the country’s conscription system to expand exemptions to include prominent entertainers like BTS, or not to provide such benefits to anyone. With lawmakers squabbling at Parliament and surveys showing sharply split public opinions over offering exemptions to BTS members, their management agency said in October that all BTS members would perform their compulsory military duties. Big Hit Music said that both the company and the members of BTS “are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.” Read more: BTS' Jin makes guest appearance at Coldplay concert in Argentina Jin, who turned 30 earlier this month, entered the boot camp at Yeoncheon, a town near the tense border with North Korea, for five weeks of basic military training together with other new conscript soldiers, the Defense Ministry said. After the training involving rifle-shooting, grenade-throwing and marching practices, he and other conscripts would be assigned to army units across the country. About 20-30 fans — some holding Jin’s photos — and dozens of journalists gathered near the camp. But Jin didn't meet them as a vehicle carrying him moved into the boot camp without getting him out. “I want to wait (for) Jin and see him go into the military and wish him all the best,” Mandy Lee from Hong Kong said before Jin’s entrance to the camp. “Actually it’s complicated. I wanna be sad. I wanna be happy for him,” said Angelina from Indonesia. "Mixed feelings. He has to serve (for) his country.” Angelina, like many Indonesians, uses only one name. Read more: South Korean army appears to want to conscript BTS members A couple dozen fans could be seen as a small turnout given Jin's huge popularity. But Jin and his management agency had earlier asked fans not to visit the site and notified them there wouldn’t be any special event involving the singer, in order to prevent any issue caused by crowding. Authorities still mobilized 300 police officers, soldiers, emergency workers and others to maintain order and guard against any accidents, according to the army. Strict safety steps were expected as South Korea is still reeling from the devastating Halloween crush in October in Seoul that killed 158 people. Hours before entering the camp, Jin — whose real name is Kim Seok-jin — wrote on the on the online fan platform Weverse that “It’s time for a curtain call.” He posted a photo of himself Sunday with a military buzzcut and a message saying, “Ha ha ha. It’s cuter than I had expected.” By law, all able-bodied South Korean men must serve in the military for 18-21 months under a conscription system established to deal with threats from North Korea. But the law gives special exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers if they have won top prizes in certain competitions and enhance national prestige. K-pop stars and other entertainers aren’t given such benefits even if they gain worldwide fame and win big international awards. “Though BTS members have opted to go to the military, there are still some sort of regrets,” said Jung Duk-hyun, a pop culture commentator. “Those in the pop culture sector experience little bit of disadvantages and unfairness, compared with those in the pure art sector or athletes. This will likely continue to be an issue of controversy so I wonder if it must be discussed continuously.” Exemptions or dodging of duties are a highly sensitive issue in South Korea, where the draft forces young men to suspend their studies or professional careers. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and Lee Ki Sik, head of South Korea’s enlistment office, previously said it would be “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness in the country’s military service. Chun In-bum, a retired lieutenant general who commanded South Korea’s special forces, said the government must move to repeal any exemptions as the military’s shrinking recruitment pool is “a very serious” problem amid the country’s declining fertility rate. He called a debate over BTS’s military service “unnecessary” as it wasn’t raised by BTS members, who have shown willingness in carrying out their duties. BTS was created in 2013 and has a legion of global supporters who call themselves the “Army.” Its other members are RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, who is the youngest at 25. The group expanded its popularity in the West with its 2020 megahit “Dynamite,” the band’s first all-English song that made BTS the first K-pop act to top Billboard’s Hot 100. The band has performed in sold-out arenas around the world and was even invited to speak at United Nations meetings. Hybe Corp., the parent company of Big Hit, said in October that each member of the band for the time being would focus on individual activities scheduled around their military service plans. In October, Jin released “The Astronaut,” a single co-written by Coldplay. Jung, the commentator, said sold projects could give BTS members much-needed time to develop themselves after working together as a group for many years. But Cha Woo-jin, a K-pop commentator, said it’s unclear if BTS would enjoy the same popularity as a group when they get together again after finishing their military duties in a few years. In August, Lee, the defense minister, said BTS members who are serving would likely be allowed to continue practicing and to join other non-serving BTS members in overseas group tours. Cha said K-pop’s global influence wouldn’t be hurt much because of BTS members’ enlistments as they “appear to represent K-pop but aren’t everything of K-pop.” Chung agreed, saying that other K-pop groups like BLACKPINK, Stray Kids and aespa could rise further.
Dadasaheb Phalke and Padma Bhushan-awarded South Indian Star Rajinikanth is the most successful actor in the Indian film industry. The original name of this man from Karnataka was Shivaji Rao Gaekwad who got his acting chops through Kannada mythological plays. And it was the time when he caught the attention of Tamil film director K Balachander. Then with the 1975 Tamil film Apoorva Ragangal directed by Balachander, Rajinikanth's film career began. And it was this Balachander who gave Rajinikanth his stage name ‘Rajinikanth’. Almost all of Rajinikanth's films have an impeccable style of punchlines. Let's check out the most popular movies of this veteran actor on his 72nd birthday. Top 5 Most Memorable Films of South Indian Star Rajinikanth Billa (1980) This R Krishnamurthy-directed action-thriller is a remake of the 1978 Hindi film Don starring Amitabh Bachchan. After this movie, Rajinikanth became the Tamil version of Bachchan in the Kollywood industry. He manages to master Bachchan's angry young man style quite well. However, Rajinikanth himself took Bachchan as his inspiration. Rajinikanth started acting in dual roles for the first time through this cinema. Read More: 10 Best South Indian Movies Releasing in December 2022 This blockbuster movie was a major turning point in his acting career. Since the release of the film, a new Rajinikanth has emerged in the eyes of critics. Billa’s highest-grossing figure in 1980 established Rajinikanth as the top star of southern cinema. This movie started the gangster hero trend in Tamil cinema. In old movies, the audience was usually shown the hero's backstory where the hero was a victim of social problems and committed crimes. Billa, on the contrary, is a complete exception to that, where the hero enjoys committing crimes. And Rajinikanth played the character flawlessly. Chandramukhi (2005) This commercially successful horror comedy film was written and directed by P Vasu. The 1993 Malayalam movie Manchitrathajhu was remade by Vasu himself in Kannada in 2004 as Aptamitra. And this Chandramukhi is the Tamil version of that Aptamitra. Rajinikanth's co-artists here were Jyothika and Nayanthara. Read More: Jaya Ahsan’s Bollywood debut confirmed as photos emerge with Pankaj Tripathi, other co-actors Over 25 Toyota Qualis and 30 stunt artists were used in Rajinikanth's fight sequences in the film. It ran in theaters for 890 consecutive days, making the movie the longest-running South Indian film. The film was released in several languages, including German and Turkish. However, the entire credit behind this was due to Rajinikanth's stardom. Rajinikanth won a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for his portrayal of Vettaiyan Raja. The film won four more awards at the Tamil Nadu State Film Festival. The movie also showcased two Filmfare Awards and four Film Fans Association Awards. The film is one of the limited numbers of South Indian films to have grossed over Rs 100 crore at the worldwide box office.
To celebrate the undeniable links among climate, river, music and youth, the second concert of "Nodi Rocks" is set to enthral music lovers Monday at the Jahangirnagar University's (JU) Mukta Mancha. "Nodi Rocks Concert – Song of Rivers and Lives," the first of its kind, aims to create awareness towards climate and connect the youth to rivers using the power of music. Chirkutt, Ashes, Smooches, Bangla Five and F Minor will perform at the six-hour concert, which will start at 4pm. In September, Arbovirus, Cryptic Fate, Chirkutt, Ashes, Smooches, Bangla Five and F Minor mesmerised the audience while showcasing a befitting tribute to the riverine beauty of Bangladesh at the first Nodi Rocks Season 1 concert at the International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital. Nodi Rocks is supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, the United Nations Development Programme, and the government of Sweden. The project is the brainchild of Sharmin Sultana Sumi, Chirkutt's founding member-vocalist and managing director and creative director of Salt Creatives.
Popular actors Zahid Hasan and Tauquir Ahmed are set to make their first appearance together in a web series with streaming platform Bioscope's mystery thriller "Ke" in January next year. Ke, produced by Shahriar Shakil under the production of Alpha-I studios, depicts the story of two close friends, played by Zahid and Tauquir, who are writers by profession. As the complexities of life unravel, they find it hard to differentiate between truth and lie. Read more: ‘Agantuk’ wins Film Bazaar Award in Goa The web series narrates a murder mystery of deception, lies, and hallucination and seeks to find the answer to "who is speaking the truth and who is telling the lie?" A launch event of the ensemble cast of the series was held in the capital recently. The cast of this web series including Zahid, Tauquir, Sanjida Pretty, Dilruba Doyal, Tanzika, director Gautam Kairi and producer Shakil joined the launching event. Regarding the venture, Tauquir said: "I believe this mystery-based story will delight the audience. Moreover, after many days I acted together with Zahid Hasan. If the audience likes the story, acting, and production, everyone's hard work will be worthwhile." Gautam said: "The mystery in Ke will unfold through the story of a family. It was a memorable occasion for me to be able to work together with two versatile actors in my first series. There are stories within stories." Read more: ‘Hoyto-Noyto': A satire on the times Zahid said: "After listening to the initial plot of the story, I was mesmerised. This web series is full of suspense and thrill. Also, Gautam is a very organised and sincere director. I think the series will entertain cross-sections of audiences." Solaiman Alam, Grameenphone chief digital and strategy officer, said: "Today's consumers have new expectations and preferences on media consumption. It is our pleasure to bring together the two most popular and versatile actors in the industry through this web series."
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, stick to a familiar script in a new Netflix series that chronicles the couple’s estrangement from the royal family, chastising Britain’s media and the societal racism they believe has fueled coverage of their relationship. The first three episodes of “Harry and Meghan,” released Thursday, dissect the symbiotic relationship between tabloid newspapers a nd the royal family and examine the history of racism across the British Empire, and how it persists. The storytelling relies on interviews with the couple, their friends, and experts on race and the media. The series does not include dissenting voices, and there is no response from any of the media organizations mentioned. “In this family sometimes, you know, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution,’’ Harry says in one of the episodes. “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias is that it is actually no one’s fault. But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right.” The media’s treatment of Meghan — and what the couple felt was a lack of sympathy from royal institutions about the coverage — were at the heart of their complaints when they walked away from royal life almost three years ago and moved to Southern California. Lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify have helped bankroll their new life in the wealthy enclave of Montecito. Promoted with two dramatically edited trailers that hinted at a “war against Meghan,” the Netflix show is the couple’s lat est effort to tell their stor y after a series of interviews with U.S. media organizations, most notably a two-hour sit down in 2021 with Oprah Winfrey. Read more: Royals tour US green tech incubator, meet at-risk youth The first three episodes break little new ground on royal intrigue, leading one British-based analyst to conclude that the main audience Harry and Meghan are trying to reach is in the United States. The series is an effort by Harry and Meghan to cement their place in American society, where fame and riches await, says David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, which has analyzed the monarchy’s value to the UK economy. “They are trying to become the next Kardashian family. And they are using the fame and notoriety of the monarchy as their stepping stone to get there,” he said. “No one would take the remotest bit of interest in either of them if they weren’t strongly associated with the UK monarchy.” The series comes at a crucial moment for the monarchy. King Charles III is trying to show that the institution still has a role to play after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal popularity dampened criticism of the crown during her 70-year reign. Charles is making the case that the House of Windsor can help unite an increasingly diverse nation by using the early days of his reign to meet with many of the ethnic groups and faiths that make up modern Britain. Harry’s 2018 marriage to the former Meghan Markle, a biracial American actress, was once seen as a public relations coup for the royal family, boosting the monarchy’s effort to move into the 21st century by making it more representative of a multicultural nation. But the fairy tale, which began with a star-studded ceremony at Windsor Castle, soon soured amid British media reports that Meghan was self-centered and bullied her staff. The new series seeks to rebut that narrative in the three hour-long episodes released Thursday. Three more are due on Dec. 15. It opens with video diaries recorded by Meghan and Harry — apparently on their phones — in March 2020, amid the couple’s acrimonious split from the royal family. It’s “my duty to uncover the exploitation and bribery” that happens in British media, Harry says in one entry. “No one knows the full truth,” he adds. “We know the full truth.” The couple then tell the story of their courtship and the initial enthusiasm that greeted the relationship. But the tone shifts as Harry recounts the intense media scrutiny faced by Meghan, reminding him of the way his mother, Princess Diana, was treated before she died in a car crash while being trailed by photographers. “To see another woman in my life who I loved go through this feeding frenzy – that’s hard,” Harry says. Read more: Duchess of Sussex gets goofy on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show “It is basically the hunter versus the prey.” Harry and the series' other narrators say the palace is partly to blame for this treatment because it has granted privileged access to six newspapers that feel they are entitled to learn intimate details about members of the royal family since British taxpayers fund their lives. Harry and Meghan said they initially tried to follow palace advice to remain silent about the press coverage as other members of the royal family said it was a rite of passage. But the couple said they felt compelled to tell their story because there was something different about the way Meghan was treated. “The difference here is the race element,” Harry said. That bias has deep roots in the history of the British empire, which was enriched by the enslavement of Black people and the extraction of wealth from colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, said historian and author David Olusoga in the program. It is only since World War II that large numbers of Black and Asian people moved to Britain, changing the face of the nation. Those changes aren’t reflected in the British media. While Black people make up about 3.5% of Britain’s population, they account for just 0.2% of the journalists, Olusoga said. “We have to recognize that this is a white industry…,” he said. “So people who come up with these headlines, they are doing so in a newsroom that’s almost entirely white, and they get to decide whether something has crossed the line of being racist.” King Charles III was asked if he had watched the series as he carried out an engagement on Thursday in London. He did not reply. Race became a central issue for the monarchy following Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Meghan alleged that before their first child was born, a member of the royal family commented on how dark the baby’s skin might be. Prince William, the heir to the throne and Harry’s older brother, defended the royal family after the interview, telling reporters, “We’re very much not a racist family.” But Buckingham Palace faced renewed allegations of racism only last week when a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse said a senior member of the royal household interrogated her about her origins during a reception at the palace. Coverage of the issue filled British media, overshadowing William and his wife Kate’s much-anticipated visit to Boston, which the palace had hoped would highlight their environmental credentials.
Celine Dion has put a halt on all performing after being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder. In an emotional video messages posted in French and English on Thursday on Instagram, Dion said stiff person syndrome was causing spasms that affect her ability to walk and sing. “Unfortunately, the spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to,” she said. Dion said she had no choice but to postpone her “Courage” tour, which was to restart in February after several delays. Her spring 2023 shows have been moved to 2024 and her summer 2023 concerts have been canceled. “I miss seeing all of you, being on the stage, performing for you. I always give 100% when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now,” she said. Read: Celine Dion announces Courage World Tour, new album in 2019 Stiff person syndrome causes rigid muscles and painful muscle spasms, which can be triggered by such things as loud noises or light touch. The cause isn’t known but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Severe cases can cause difficulty walking and hunched posture. Dion, who has five Grammy Awards and two Academy Awards, is the best-selling female artist of all time with hits like “I’m Alive” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
The 19th edition of the Asian Art Biennale, the longest-running international art biennale event in Asia, is now all set to welcome the art enthusiasts from home and beyond at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Thursday. The month-long art extravaganza will be inaugurated by Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who will virtually raise the curtain of the biennale as the chief guest of the opening ceremony at the National Theatre Hall of the academy at 10 am. State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid will chair the inaugural ceremony, which will be joined by Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Abul Monsur, President of the jury board of the event artist Rafiqun Nabi and jury board Jaroslaw Suchan as special guests. Sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the 19th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2022 will include 649 pieces of art created by 493 artists from 114 nations, including 149 Bangladeshi artists. Three grand prizes and six honourable mention prizes will be announced at the opening ceremony. On Tuesday, a press briefing was held at the Seminar Room of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, where BSA Director General and chief coordinator of 19th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2022 Liaquat Ali Lucky shared the details of the long-awaited flagship event of the organisation with the media. “This 19th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2022 is dedicated to the country's founding President and the father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who envisioned and established Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy which has been organizing the Asian Art Biennale, the largest art exhibition in Asia, for the past 40 years,” Lucky said at the press conference. The 19th edition will showcase two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks such as paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, performance arts, installations and new media arts, crafted and presented by the participating native and foreign artists who channelled their contemporary thoughts through these artworks, Lucky said at the press conference. Read more: 19th Asian Art Biennale to begin March 1, 2021 Eyeing for a regular event like the previous years, BSA had to postpone the 19th edition several times, according to Lucky. “Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we had to change the schedule for this biennale more than three times. Although we held other major exhibitions within the period, we are really happy to finally host this grand festivity at this time,” he said. The 19th edition will feature a two-day international seminar titled ‘Home and Displacement’ with the participation of local and foreign artists, art critics, jury and observers. The seminar will be held on Friday and Saturday at the National Art Gallery Auditorium and Seminar Rooms of the National Theatre Building of the BSA. In addition to the main exhibition at BSA, the Bangladesh National Museum will display 42 artworks of Bangladeshi legendary master artists from its collection as a part of the 19th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2022. The international jurors of the 19th Asian Art Biennale - Iwona Blazwick from the UK, Jagath Weerasinghe from Sri Lanka, artist Nurseren Tor from Turkey, and Jaroslaw Suchan from Poland were also present at the press conference, alongside BSA Fine Arts Director Syeda Mahbuba Karim and BSA Secretary Salahuddin Ahmed. The 19th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2022 will welcome its visitors till January 7, every day from 11 am to 8 pm.
Popular Bangladeshi actress Jaya Ahsan, who was rumoured to be making her debut in Bollywood soon, is now officially confirmed as a cast member of Indian filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's next project. The actress was seen in photographs with her co-actors including Bollywood actor Pankaj Tripathi, actress Sanjana Sanghi, Malayalam blockbuster film ‘Charlie’-famed actress Parvathy Thiruvothu and others, alongside the director and producer on Wednesday. Read more: Jaya Ahsan bags 'Black Lady' again! Jointly written by Viraf Sarkari, Ritesh Shah and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, shooting for the film began on Wednesday. The film is being shot in Mumbai and Kolkata. It is an investigative drama with a heart-warming story, centred around the coming together of a dysfunctional family. Regarding her Bollywood debut, Jaya Ahsan said to the Times of India that she is excited to be a part of the film. “This is my first film in Hindi and my character is an integral part of the movie. When this offer came to me, I was thrilled and said yes immediately because Aniruddha is the director, and I have Pankaj Tripathi as one of my co-actors. I have always wanted to work with them and the fact that it’s my first Hindi film doubles the delight.” Read more: Is Jaya Ahsan making her debut in Hindi cinema? Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury said, “This film has a story layered with intrigue which reveals itself over time - how faced with odds, people come together to form a strong unit. I am so happy to collaborate with Wiz Films and an eclectic cast like Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjana Sanghi, Parvathi Thirovothu and Jaya Ahsan along with crew Avik Mukhopadhyay, Ritesh Shah, Shantanu Moitro and Arghyakamal Mitra.” The yet-to-be-titled film is produced by Wiz Films, KVN and HT Content Studio, in association with Opus Communications.
While filming “Emancipation,” Will Smith routinely drew inspiration from the words “sacred motivation” that were written on the front page of a script. But the Oscar winner heavily leaned on the phrase even more in recent months, as he tried to overcome the backlash to his Oscars slap and banishment from the ceremony. “It’s like when you can locate and center yourself in your divine purpose, you can withstand anything and everything,” Smith said of the phrase that greeted him when he took on the lead role in Antoine Fuqua’s “Emancipation,” which is currently in theaters and will be available to stream Friday on Apple TV+. “Sacred motivation” became like a theme for him and his castmates, Smith said. The film, completed months before Smith strode onto the Oscars stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock for a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, was a grueling shoot. Inspired by an iconic 1863 photo of the scarred back of “Whipped Peter,” Smith portrays the character Peter — a man who attempts to escape slavery while he uses his wits to dodge slave hunters and brave alligator-infested Louisiana swamps in his quest for freedom. READ: Apple to release Will Smith's 'Emancipation' post-slap The photos of “Whipped Peter” were taken during a Union Army medical examination that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. An image known as “The Scourged Back” showed countless mutilated whip marks on Peter’s bare back that were delivered by his enslavers. The photo contributed to the growing opposition to slavery. Smith said his character taught him a lesson in overcoming adversity after he faced condemnation, memes and a 10-year Oscars attendance ban. The “slap” seemingly overshadowed his own biggest career milestone, which came later in the night: winning his first-ever Academy Award, best actor for “King Richard.” The backlash rocked Smith, but Peter ultimately helped steer him back on track too. “Peter has absolutely helped me through these last few months, just reestablishing within myself in what my purpose is in this world,” Smith said in a recent interview, one of his first since the Oscars. He has repeatedly apologized for his behavior after accepting his ban. Normally, “Emancipation” might earn Smith some serious Oscars buzz. He’s still eligible for nominations and awards, but can’t personally accept them. Given backlash to “The Slap,” Smith mainly hopes that audiences will still watch Fuqua’s film. “This movie was so grueling. Literally across the board, everybody had to devote a hefty amount of suffering to what you see on that screen,” Smith said. “So my greatest wish, and I guess I can talk about my greatest fear, is that my team would be penalized for my actions. I’m out with this film that I love and strictly want my people to get their flowers.” Fuqua knows Smith made a mistake, but he hopes audiences can move past it. The director believes the story about Peter’s search for freedom, fighting to get back to his family and being a catalyst in highlighting the horrific side of slavery in “Emancipation” is much bigger than “The Slap.” “Peter’s story is so inspiring, especially as a Black man. We go through a lot of things daily, just being Black,” said Fuqua, known for directing “Training Day,” “Equalizer” films and “The Magnificent Seven.” He said his new film tackles how certain elements of racism in America that still occur today. READ: Will Smith resigns from film academy over Chris Rock slap “For me, it’s a mistake,” Fuqua said of Smith striking Rock on live television. “Hopefully everybody can get back on track and God bless everyone. But we’re talking about 400 years of brutality.” Bingwa, who plays Peter’s wife Dodienne, credits Smith’s ability to endure the adversity while pushing forward through it. “It’s in line with the film. I imagine it’s been a tough period,” said Bingwa, who hopes audiences can learn more about Peter’s determination to return home after making a promise. “I don’t want to speak on Will’s behalf, but he’s been an inspiration to so many for so long. I love seeing him with his head held high. Everyone can learn from his experience. I just love the way you took it on the chin, you’re wearing it and walking forward. We’re all human.” While promoting the film, Smith held private screenings for several influential figures including Rihanna, Tyler Perry, Dave Chappelle, LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates along with students at Morehouse College. He garnered a great amount of support from those individuals, giving him somewhat a sigh of relief. Each time Smith harkened back to Peter’s story, the more he became empowered to share his character’s journey. “I feel very comfortable in this current situation with this project, with these people,” he said. “I feel cleansed. I feel purified and transformed in many ways. And as one of the lessons from Peter is, ‘Suffering leads to salvation.’ So I am comfortable taking my medicine.”