Philly Mural Inspires Will Smith to Create Merch That Will Benefit a Local School
Summertime is an excellent period during which to make great news, and this week, Will Smith, who in 1991 penned a song that pays tribute to the season, gave his hometown proof of that. The Grammy-winning, Academy Award-nominated performer announced a line of merchandise whose proceeds will benefit a Philadelphia school, with the items drawing inspiration from a recently revealed mural that honors his contributions to the entertainment industry.
Fittingly, as those who watched “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (which could be poised for some sort of comeback) and bobbed their heads to its catchy theme song would certainly agree, the artwork is situated in West Philadelphia. At 65 feet, it marks yet another brushstroke of genius by Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public art program whose nearly 4,000 murals help the City of Brotherly Love proclaim itself the unofficial world capital of such creative output.
Adorning a furniture store across from Global Leadership Academy Charter School, the piece by Richard Wilson has yet to receive an in-person inspection by Smith, but he has taken to social media to commend the work. And while one would likely expect such an emotional response from the native upon his seeing the tribute, it might not have been that predictable to determine how, if at all, he would pay the gesture forward.
Enter Teespring. No stranger to, let’s say, less than rousing reactions to some of its items, the custom merchandise e-commerce platform is further enhancing the regard that the public has for Smith by selling an assortment of promotional products, including hoodies, T-shirts and a tote bag, that feature his face. Ranging from $15 to $45, the goods will not go toward helping the depicted individual grow his financial portfolio, as Smith has decided to give all of the proceeds to the charter institution.
We know that children value their summer break, as we definitely treasured ours, so we will refrain from counting down how many days are left in their vacation. However, we will say that come September, when the students at Global Leadership Academy Charter School return to class, it would really behoove administrators to get jiggy with the idea of centering a fundraiser around the website.
Every educational haven deserves a bevy of backers, whether they are academic supporters or athletic boosters, and through a pretty novel idea, Smith is continuing to paint himself as a standup member of the Hollywood community. As those of us who live in one of the nation’s oldest cities can attest to, you can take a guy out of Philly, but you can’t take the Philly out of him.