Will Smith and his family were given a very special honour recently! As Entertainment Tonight shares, Smith posted a YouTube video on Monday that showed himself and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith as well as their kids— Jaden Smith, Willow Smith, and Trey Smith— receiving the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award.
Smith shares video of Williams' son Zachary talking about award
Smith's family was chosen to receive the award by Williams' children— Zelda, Cody, and Zachary. In the video Smith shared, Zachary first talked about the significance of the award itself. "My becoming a mental health advocate stems from the trauma and loss I experienced after my dad died by suicide," he explained. "I experienced a serious low point in my life and I found that the most healing experience for me was committing to service around causes."
As Entertainment Tonight mentions, the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award is presented through Bring Change To Mind. Founded by Glenn Close, the non-profit organization is dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental illness, which is why Zachary chose to join its board. He said in Smith's video that the recipient of the award is someone who represents "the best sparks of dad -- still living and bringing joy."
Smith and family honoured for their "kindness, unity, and love"
Smith and his wife and kids were then announced as the recipient for the award in 2020! "As a family that gets asked about the word 'legacy' a lot, we decided that this year we’d like to honor one that was being built with kindness, unity and love right in front of us," Zachary shared. "This year we wanted to honor the entire Smith family as individuals and as a whole for their long-standing and continued contributions to the world."
He then went on to talk about many of the amazing things Smith and his family have done. "You’ve held groundbreaking discussions on topics like family, career and mental health in a world that often expects silence from its most visible citizens," he continued. "Your charitable acts are many and varied, from feeding the homeless, helping inner-city youth programs, fighting AIDS in South Africa and bringing safe water to those who need it most."
Zachary commended Will and Jada for their excellent parenting, congratulating them on raising "a second generation that is a true testament to you." He also acknowledged the fact that both his late father and Smith have played the iconic character of "Genie" in Disney's Aladdin— Williams in the animated version and Smith in last year's live action version! "From one genie family to another," he said, "thanks for sharing your phenomenal cosmic powers with the world."
Smith opens up about the power of laughter in acceptance video
Smith and his family were then shown virtually accepting the honour, filming a video of their own in response! "From one genie family to another, it’s one of the great joys for us as a family, and a FaceTime, to accept the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award [for] using laughter as a force for good, as a family," Smith said.
"Robin Williams was an absolute master of human connection," he continued. "He wanted you to laugh. It’s almost like he needed you to laugh and however brief the moment was, he was always scanning for what is the interaction that the two of you could have that would be memorable and magical." Smith then shared why to him the power of laughter is such a special, valuable thing. "There’s really nothing like laughing with someone," he said.
"When you get to laugh with someone, it is the fastest, freeway out of being strangers. There’s nothing like sharing a laugh that tears away the ego," Smith continued. "People don’t look good when they laugh -- it’s like everything gets ripped apart. You’re exposed to someone and what you think is funny and someone else thinks is funny -- [when] you connect eyes, there really is nothing else like that in human connection."
Smith's son accepted award from afar due to COVID-19 isolation
Smith and his family were almost all together in one place while they accepted the award— with one exception! That's because as Entertainment Tonight mentions, son Jaden joined them virtually, since he was isolating while waiting for his COVID-19 test results! During the virtual acceptance, Smith's wife also reflected on the late comedian's impact. "Robin, you could tell he loved people because his comedy was always based around joy," Jada shared, becoming emotional as she spoke.
The Legacy of Laughter Award is one of several initiatives to help keep Williams' memory alive. Williams' daughter Zelda has been celebrating her late father by giving back, and earlier this year, his estate launched a YouTube channel honouring his life and career! Watch Will Smith's emotional YouTube video here!