Will Smith has reportedly paid $100,000 (£85,700) to save New Orleans’ Fourth of July fireworks display.
The annual display was said to be in jeopardy on account of a lack of funding. Smith, who is in the city shooting upcoming slave thriller Emancipation, was praised for his gesture by Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Cantrell took to Twitter to voice her gratitude. “The gift of city fireworks was made possible by actor and producer Will Smith, along with his company Westbrook,” she wrote.
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🎆🎉
The gift of city fireworks was made possible by actor and producer Will Smith, along with his company Westbrook👏⚜️ pic.twitter.com/oWI8b8YOap
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) July 2, 2021
Smith’s act of kindness comes almost 25 years after the actor starred in the box office hit Independence Day as Captain Steven Hiller.
The actor, who also serves as producer on Emancipation, moved production from Georgia to Louisiana in early April. The relocation took place after new laws were set out in Georgia which would mean that all voters would require ID in order to vote. The move is believed by many to disproportionately harm Black and ethnic minority voters.
At the time, Smith and the film’s director Antoine Fuqua said in a joint statement acquired by Deadline: “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. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
Meanwhile, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has defended his decision to keep filming his sequel to the film in Georgia.