According to an in-depth cover interview with GQ, Will Smith remembered a series of psychedelic experiences in Peru, and his new memoir Will, set to hit shelves on November 9, will describe the encounters in further detail.
According to GQ, his tell-all Will, will provide the most unpolished version of Smith’s personal story yet—including the details he probably would’ve never shared as his kids were growing up.
Smith’s team recruited Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, while the actor was filming Gemini Man. In his book, he wanted to finally share with the world the good, bad and ugly parts of himself. New Orleans-based artist Brandan “BMike” Odums designed the cover of WILL.
While Smith was rising to stardom rapping and starring on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he maintained a squeaky clean image. He mostly set aside partying to fully focus on his career in show business—not even smoking weed, and limited drinking to very little. But Smith slowly realized his hyperfocus on his career took a toll on friendships and relationships. As he got older, he constantly re-evaluated where he stood.
Few people could understand his unique position as a leading star. “Throughout the years, I would always call Denzel [Washington]. He’s a real sage,” Smith told GQ. “I was probably 48 or something like that and I called Denzel. He said, ‘Listen. You’ve got to think of it as the funky 40. Everybody’s 40s are funky.’ He said, ‘But just wait till you hit the fuck-it 50s.’”
“He said, ‘Just bear with your 40s.’ I stopped and I was like, ‘The funky 40s and the fuck-it 50s,’” Smith said. “And that’s exactly what happened. It just became the fuck-it 50s, and I gave myself the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do.”
So Smith took that newfound freedom and experimented, traveling to foreign countries without security guards, and he made his way to Peru to embark on “more than a dozen ayahuasca rituals.”
Apparently Smith was highly impacted by the ayahuasca experiences. “This was my first tiny taste of freedom,” Smith wrote, describing his first experience. “In my 50 plus years on this planet, this is the unparalleled greatest feeling I’ve ever had.”
According to results from the Global Ayahuasca Project survey, about 85 percent of people who take ayahuasca go on to make a profound life change. Ayahuasca literally means “the vine of death”—an Amazonian brew that is a bit more than a recreational psychedelic trip. Many people travel to areas near the Amazonian metropolis of Iquitos, Peru, to find these experiences and be led by a shaman who can guide them properly.
Ayahuasca is a drink that must contain at least two ingredients: One that utilizes the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) properties of an Amazon rainforest vine Banisteriopsis caapi, and another to allow the potent hallucinogen N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), found in a variety of rainforest plants like Psychotria viridis (chacruna), to become active in your brain. In other words, the first ingredient is actuated by the second.
Smith’s son Jaden also opened up to the media about his “journeys on psychedelics,” which apparently also heavily inspired his latest music releases.
As half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, things really took off in 1990 when he was cast as the star role of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, taking Jazzy Jeff along for the ride. But most people don’t know that the show contained minor bits of truth, reflecting Smith’s own brushes with the law in West Philadelphia, just after receiving a Grammy Award for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
Smith’s astronomical career has become a source of inspiration for many. One particular video, for instance, went viral as it was considered to be a powerful speech about overcoming fear, doubt and people not believing in you.
Listen to Smith live, as he kicks off a book tour of his new memoir WILL—in a limited number of major cities throughout the world.