Will Smith debuts new song with fiery performance at BET Awards

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Will Smith (center) performs during the BET Awards at the Peacock Theatre on Sunday, June 30, 2024 in Los Angeles.


Will Smith brought fire and confidence to the stage at the BET Awards on Sunday.

Smith returned to his musical roots with his new song, “You Can Make It.” Accompanied by Friday and the Sunday Service Choir, Smith rapped about perseverance in the gospel-influenced song.

“The darker hell you have to endure / The brighter heaven you’ll enjoy / The harder the fall, the higher you’ll fly,” Smith rapped while surrounded by fireworks on stage. “When the devil closes the door, God opens a window / Believe me, they tried to make Will Smith bleed / Looking back, I see that adversity was a gift / I need faith in gifts to lift me higher.”

Smith's appearance at the BET Awards follows his surprise performance at Coachella in April, when he dropped in on J. Balvin's set for a powerful performance of his track “Men in Black,” which was previously released alongside his 1997 hit film of the same name.

The “Independence Day” star’s new music is his first solo music in five years, marking his first major music release since his 2005 “Lost and Found” album.

In recent years Smith has occasionally collaborated with other artists, including Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. He released the EDM single “Get Lit” in 2017 and also released the track “Light 'Em Up” with Sean Paul, which is on the soundtrack to his new film “Bad Boys: Ride or Die.”

Smith is a four-time Grammy-winning artist in the rap performance category, both solo and as a duo or group. His first win was for the 1988 song “Parents Just Don't Understand,” which he performed as the Fresh Prince with DJ Jazzy Jeff.

The duo also won the award for their track “Summertime” in 1992. As a solo artist, Smith won two consecutive rap performance Grammys for “Men in Black” in 1998 and “Gettin' Jiggy With It” the following year.

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