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Will Smith Speaks About ‘Pain’ in New David Letterman Interview

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Photo credit: Netflix

Will Smith Speaks About ‘Pain’ in New David Letterman Special Recorded Before Oscars Slap

There is a very important disclaimer that appears at the beginning of David Letterman’s new interview with Will Smith on season four of his Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction: “This episode was filmed prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.”

Netflix and Letterman are telling viewers that there will be no explicit questions or answers about Smith infamously slapping comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at the Oscars earlier this year. As of the new season’s release on Netflix, Smith has still not spoken publicly about the incident that has upended his life and career, with multiple upcoming projects shelved for the time being.

And yet, throughout the nearly hour-long conversation, there are moments that come off very differently than they would have if Smith’s fun-loving persona was still intact.

Early in the interview, Letterman described the experience of having Smith on his old Late Show as watching a “locomotive” enter the studio, “but you’re telling people that’s not exactly who you are.”

“There’s a person that you want to be and a person you want to be viewed as,” Smith explained. “And then there’s who you really are.” Echoing the first line of the self-titled memoir he put out last year, Smith said, “I’ve always thought of myself as a coward.”

The actor recounts the experience of being nine years old and watching his father beat up his mother. “And I didn’t do anything,” he said. “And that just left a traumatic impression of myself as a coward.”

Smith went on to say that when he discovered comedy, he came to realize that “negativity cannot exist inside of a human body when you’re laughing,” and he began to use comedy as a “defense mechanism.”

“Ultimately ‘Will Smith’ became a symbol of joy and fun, and when I showed up, I wanted people to be happy,” he told Letterman, “because I found that when my household was that way, I felt safe.”

Not only has Smith’s image as a “symbol of joy and fun” perhaps been irreparably damaged by his actions at the Oscars, but it’s also striking that those actions were a direct attack on comedy itself, the medium that he says was his way of surviving an abusive household.

Later in the episode, there are more moments that play differently in a post-slap world. At one point, Letterman makes an innocuous reference to Smith’s mother, and the actor jokingly says, “Don’t say nothing about my mother, Dave,” before pretending like he’s going to fight the 75-year-old host right there on the stage.

In another scene, Smith shares lessons from his training to play Muhammad Ali by demonstrating how you know when someone is about to punch you. “Show me that, but don’t hit me,” Letterman jokes.

When someone drops their right foot back, that’s “how you know he’s preparing to sneak the shot,” Smith explains. Smith then throws a fake punch at Letterman, who replies, “Oh Jesus! That was frightening. Don’t do that again.”

By the end of the interview, Smith is telling the host, “Life is so exciting to me right now because I can reach people differently than I’ve ever been able to reach people, largely because of my pain. I’m really ready to dive into my art in a way that I think will be hopefully fulfilling for me and helpful for the human family.”

Now, the only question is whether Hollywood will give him the chance to move forward.

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AU official calls out Germany over leopard jibe that left some offended

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A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. - Copyright © africanews Michael Sohn/AP2011

Germany apologized on Thursday (Jan. 26) for using a leopard emoji in a tweet refering to the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Africa. The post that was regarded as offensive by some users was called out by the spokeswoman for the African Union chairman Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The German foreign ministry attempted to poke fun at Russia’s top diplomat during his tour of Africa when it tweeted that he wasn’t there looking for leopards, but using the trip to try and justify Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The tweet, and the leopard emoji the foreign ministry used on its official account, apparently sought to play off Germany’s decision to send some of its advanced Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to back its military fight off Russian forces.

An African Union official questioned the use of emoji, pointing it could be interpreted as the continent being portrayed once again as only about wild animals.

Ebba Kalondo, the spokeswoman for AU Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, tweeted back to the German government account questioning if Africa, its people and its wildlife was “just a joke to you?”

“Foreign policy is not a joke nor should it be used to score cheap geopolitical points by illustrating an entire Continent with colonial tropes,” Kalondo wrote in a follow-up tweet.

The German foreign ministry apologized and said that the tweet wasn’t meant to offend, but rather “to call out the lies that Russia uses to justify its imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Lavrov has visited South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea this week, where he has repeated his claims that the United States and its Western allies are using Ukraine as a tool in a “hybrid war” against Russia.

Many African nations hold historical ties with Moscow. South Africa was one of several to abstain from a U.N. vote last year condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Eritrea voted against the resolution alongside Russia, Belarus, North Korea and Syria.

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Bomb injures at least a dozen people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo

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Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.

A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday (Jan. 25), injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu’s Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

“Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.

No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.

Deadly violence

Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.

The explosion Wednesday (Jan. 25) occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.

Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.

Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.

Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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Somalia: Al-Shabaab terrorists storm mayor’s office, killing six

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Al-Shabaab terrorists set off a bomb and stormed a government building in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.  The Al-Qaeda-backed terror group has stepped up bombings in the country.

At least six people were killed on Sunday in an attack by Al Shabaab militants at the mayor’s office in central Mogadishu, police said.

A suicide bomber set off a huge blast that tore through building near the office complex with gunfire erupting afterwards, Somali police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said at the end of the four-hour siege.

“All the six attackers died. Five of them during the fire exchange with the security forces and one of them detonated himself,” Dudishe told reporters.

“Six civilians also died during the attack and the situation is back to normal.” All the staffers at the mayor’s office were rescued, the police added.

Al 0Shabaab, a militant group allied with Al Qaeda claimed, responsibility for the attack via its communication channels, saying its fighters “made their way inside the targeted building after killing the security guards.” Witnesses said the initial explosion damaged nearby buildings and gunfire could be heard in the vicinity of the mayor’s office.

The area was quickly cordoned off by security officers, a witness who runs a business near the offices said.

Another witness, Omar Nur, said he was inside a nearby mall when the explosion went off and “was lucky to have escaped safely.” The Al Shabaab militants have been waging a bloody insurgency against the frail internationally backed central government for 15 years, carrying out attacks both in Somalia and neighbouring countries.

The latest attack comes days after seven soldiers were killed on Friday at a military camp in Galcad, a town in central Somalia about 375 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu. The US military said the attack — in the Somali town retaken by the army this week — involved more than 100 Al Shabaab jihadists.

“The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defence strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty Al Shabaab terrorists killed” the US military command for Africa (AFRICOM) said in a statement.

Source: Dawn

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