Will Smith and Family Praise ‘Master of Human Connection’ Robin Williams While Receiving an Award in His Honor
By Leena Tailor
The children of late actor, Robin Williams, are honoring Will Smith and his family for their contributions to the world. Williams' children, Zelda, Cody and Zachary, chose the Smith family to receive the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award, which was established in honor of their father, who died after taking his own life in 2014.
In a video posted by Smith on Monday, Zachary announced this year’s award was going to Smith, his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and their children, Jaden, Willow and Trey.
“My becoming a mental health advocate stems from the trauma and loss I experienced after my dad died by suicide," he said. "I experienced a serious low point in my life and I found that the most healing experience for me was committing to service around causes.”
Zachary joined the board of Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit founded by Glenn Close, which aims to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Through the organization, William's family present the Legacy of Laughter Award to someone they feel embodies, “the best sparks of dad -- still living and bringing joy.”
“As a family that gets asked about the word ‘legacy’ a lot, we decided that this year we’d like to honor one that was being built with kindness, unity and love right in front of us,” he said. “This year we wanted to honor the entire Smith family as individuals and as a whole for their long-standing and continued contributions to the world.”
“You’ve held groundbreaking discussions on topics like family, career and mental health in a world that often expects silence from its most visible citizens,” he continued. “Your charitable acts are many and varied, from feeding the homeless, helping inner-city youth programs, fighting AIDS in South Africa and bringing safe water to those who need it most.”
Zachary also commended Will and Jada for raising “a second generation that is a true testament to you.”
“From one genie family to another, thanks for sharing your phenomenal cosmic powers with the world,” he concluded.
The family then filmed a response to the honor, with Jaden joining them virtually (much to his siblings’ amusement) because he was awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
“From one genie family to another, it’s one of the great joys for us as a family, and a FaceTime, to accept the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award [for] using laughter as a force for good, as a family,” Smith said.
“Robin Williams was an absolute master of human connection,” Smith also said. “He wanted you to laugh. It’s almost like he needed you to laugh and however brief the moment was, he was always scanning for what is the interaction that the two of you could have that would be memorable and magical.”
Jada got emotional while discussing the late comedian. “Robin, you could tell he loved people because his comedy was always based around joy,” she said.
The family discussed how Williams brought lots of laughter to their household and named some of their favorite Williams movies, like Mrs. Doubtfire.
Smith also spoke about the power of laughter. “There’s really nothing like laughing with someone,” he said. “When you get to laugh with someone, it is the fastest, freeway out of being strangers. There’s nothing like sharing a laugh that tears away the ego. People don’t look good when they laugh -- it’s like everything gets ripped apart. You’re exposed to someone and what you think is funny and someone else thinks is funny -- [when] you connect eyes, there really is nothing else like that in human connection.”