/  07.05.2021

Will Smith came through for New Orleans during the Fourth of July weekend. The actor paid for this year’s fireworks showcase after pandemic-related financial woes caused city officials to call off the annual event. According to multiple reports, he paid $100,000 for permitting, public safety and equipment fireworks to ensure that the display went down, especially after the cancelation of last year’s show. With his generosity, the “Go Fourth on the River” event — which typically takes months to plan — was put together in 72 hours and was nearly three times bigger than the average year’s festivities, per WWL-TV.

Grateful for the generous gesture, Mayor LaToya Cantrell took to Twitter and thanked Smith and his Westbrook production company for saving NOLA’s fireworks show.

“A fireworks display produced by ‘Go 4th on the River’ will take place in New Orleans along the Mississippi Riverfront at 9pm Sunday, July 4, 2021,” she wrote. “The gift of city fireworks was made possible by actor and producer Will Smith, along with his company Westbrook.”

Smith is reportedly in New Orleans to film Emancipation, a movie that will follow his character’s journey from a slave on a Louisiana plantation to a member of the Union Army. Production for the film was originally slated to take place in Georgia, but following the enactment of the state’s voter suppressive bills, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star and his costar Antoine Fuqua decided to relocate to Louisiana.

“At this moment in time, the nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” Fuqua and Smith said in a joint statement. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”

“The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting,” the statement continued. “Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”

See Cantrell’s tweet below.


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