West Philadelphia, PA – Will Smith and the words “In West Philadelphia, born and raised” are synonymous. As part of the theme song to the iconic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, those words kicked off every episode for the show’s six-season run.
Smith, who is now a bona fide megastar, was recently honored with a mural in his hometown of Philadelphia celebrating his accomplishments. British artist Richard Wilson painted the mural on the wall of Gevurtz Furniture in West Philly.
Wilson worked with West Philly’s Mural Arts Philadelphia and Global Leadership Academy Charter to secure the wall.
In a video, which is appropriately titled “West Philadelphia, Born and Raised,” Smith reflects on seeing a huge mural of NBA legend Julius Erving in his hometown and how it “inspired” him growing up.
“The idea there would be a mural of me on a side of a school in West Philadelphia just wrecked me,” Smith says.
He was almost brought to tears talking about his mother Carolyn seeing the mural for the first time.
“Growing up, my mother and father and grandmother demanded no less of me than to represent the family every time I stepped out in a way that was helpful to others,” Smith says. “To see my mother’s face when she looked at the mural … that was profoundly moving for me.”
Elsewhere in the clip, Smith’s mother tells Wilson, “You couldn’t have done any better if you tried. It’s perfect. There’s nothing that you left out.”
As the video comes to a close, Smith encourages people to visit a website selling mural merch. Smith says 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Global Leadership Academy Charter School and Wilson.
Wilson shared several process shots to his Instagram account.
Check out some of those out below.