Will Smith Urged Obama White House to Free T.I.

Smith was 'politely told' Obama would not free T.I., rapper tells Billboard

Will Smith applauds Barack Obama at Nobel Peace Prize ceremony (AP)
• November 26, 2012 6:35 pm


Will Smith, the star of Seven Pounds and a major donor to President Barack Obama, attempted to use his influence in the White House to get rapper T.I. released from prison, according to an interview with T.I. in Billboard.

Through the years, you've mentioned different people being supportive of everything you've gone through, including Eminem. Who else has been there to help?

As you mentioned, of course, Em. He was extremely supportive and inspirational during that time. Busta Rhymes, Puffy, Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons, Nelly, David Banner, Charlie Mack, Will Smith. Will actually went as far as getting in touch with [attorney general] Eric Holder and the Obama administration trying to see if we could get some kind of release. He was very politely told that was not possible. [laughs]"

Atlanta’s T.I. has a long rap sheet with charges ranging from illegally purchasing machine guns to drug possession. He was released from prison in September 2011.

Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith have been strong financial backers of the president. According to CQ’s Political MoneyLine, the couple has contributed at least $199,300 to Obama’s two presidential campaigns. They have also contributed $183,100 to the Democratic National Committee.

The Hollywood couple also held a sold-out fundraiser attended by Michelle Obama at their Calabasas home in October. Tickets for the star-studded luncheon sold for up to $40,000.

Smith does not hide his support for Obama. He used a Berlin press conference for Men In Black 3 to express his admiration for Obama. "I will absolutely vote for Barack Obama," said Smith, who went on to praise Obama’s bravery for coming out in support of gay marriage in an election year.

Smith has been a guest at the White House multiple times and was even given a rare personal tour of the West Wing by the president. Obama even spent time joking with Smith’s son Jaden about "the existence of extra-terrestrials."