Will Smith gets standing ovation after performing new song at BET Awards

Will Smith released his new song, “You Can Make It”, with a rousing performance at the BET Awards on Sunday (30 June).

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air star, 55, recently made his return to music with a Sean Paul collaboration, “Light ‘Em Up”, on the soundtrack for his latest film, Bad Boys: Ride or Die – his first music release in almost half a decade.

News of his new song release emerged last week, with limited details, as BET promised “yet another defining night for the culture that is not to be missed”.

Backed by Sunday Service Choir, and artists Chandler Moor and Kirk Franklin, the act received a standing ovation from the audience.

Smith performed in a ring of fire and debris, surrounded by a choir perched in shadows high above him. His song centred on emerging from the “dark night of the soul” and the determination and faith required to make it through difficult moments.

“The darker the hell you gotta endure / The brighter the heaven you get to enjoy / The harder the fall, the higher you soar / God opens a window when the devil closes the door,” he rapped.

“Believe me, they tried to bleed Will Smith / In the rearview, I see adversity was the gift / To lift me higher gifts requires faith/ So dry your eyes and then you’ll find a way / Out of the madness, out of the maze / And out of the saddest into the rays / The darkest of nights turns into day / And every storm runs out of rain.”

Smith performed his new song on Sunday (30 June) (Getty Images)
Smith performed his new song on Sunday (30 June) (Getty Images)

As the ring of fire is put out by a shower of rain, Smith says, “We are not being punished, we are being forged, dance in your darkest moments.”

Smith’s reputation has been tarnished since he publicly slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars, shortly before winning the award for Best Actor.

Following the BET Awards, the Bad Boys actor shared a video of the performance on X/Twitter, with the caption, “I have returned Home! The comeback is always bigger than the setback.”

Back in April, Smith gave a surprise performance at Coachella when he joined the Colombian singer J Balvin during his set.

The cameo was in keeping with Balvin’s extra-terrestrial-themed set, featuring a giant alien head and a mock UFO.

“From his start as a rapper to The Fresh Prince to being a box office king as one of the Bad Boys, Will Smith is truly a global icon, and we are honoured to welcome him back to grace the BET Awards stage,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.