Will Smith saves Independence Day celebrations in New Orleans by paying for fireworks

The Hollywood star helped foot the $100,000 bill after city officials planned to cancel the event due to lack of funds

ROME, ITALY - JANUARY 11 : US actor Will Smith attends the photocall of the movie "Pursuit of Happyness" at Hotel Excelsior on January 11, 2007 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia /Getty Images)

Will Smith famously helped save the world in his 1996 hit Independence Day. And now’s he’s helped to save US Independence Day celebrations in the city of New Orleans.

The Hollywood star paid $100,000 for July 4 fireworks in the city after officials said celebrations were doubtful because of a lack of funds.

The annual fireworks tradition was cancelled in 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic, but Smith, who is in the city filming Emancipation, made sure Covid-19 wouldn’t beset plans this year, too.

“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,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced on Twitter ahead of the event. "The gift of city fireworks was made possible by actor and producer Will Smith, along with his company Westbrook."

Smith has not said anything about the fireworks, but did post throwback photos from the set of Independence Day.

“25 years ago?!?! Wow!” he posted on Sunday, along with pictures of himself with co-star Jeff Goldblum as well as his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and son, Trey Smith.

The star's next film, Emancipation, tells the story of a slave, Peter, who escapes a plantation and joins the Union Army during the US Civil War. The film, which will premiere on Apple TV+, was in the news recently after Smith moved production from Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana, after Georgia passed a new voting law.

Critics of the law say it is intended to deny black voters equal access to the ballot.

“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” said Smith and Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua in a joint statement in April.

Smith recently wrapped up King Richard, a biography about the life of Richard Williams, the father of tennis heroes Venus and Serena Williams. The film is scheduled for a November release.

Updated: July 5th 2021, 9:06 AM
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