Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Tyler Perry, More Join Will Smith for 'Epic' Screening of 'Emancipation'

Will Smith thanked the group for coming to the "epic" private screening of his upcoming movie Emancipation

https://www.instagram.com/p/CkHH5ojSXIa/?hl=en willsmith Verified EPIC night!! Thanx for coming to see #Emancipation. Hope ya’ll enjoyed!! @davechappelle @cblacksmith @badgalriri @kenyabarris @officialfawn @tylerperry @asaprocky @westbrook @appletvplus
Photo: Will Smith/Instagram

Will Smith gathered a star-studded group of friends to watch his upcoming movie Emancipation.

On Monday, Smith, 54, shared a pair of photos on Instagram from a private screening featuring Dave Chappelle, Tyler Perry, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Kenya Barris and more. He wrote in the caption, "EPIC night!! Thanx for coming to see #Emancipation. Hope ya'll enjoyed!!"

In the comment section, Barris wrote, "This night was MAGIC and your movie is truly something that will last forever!"

Set in Louisiana during the American Civil War, Smith plays Peter, a man who escapes slavery and sets out on a quest for freedom, in Emancipation. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film marks Smith's first film since his incident at the Oscars in March when he slapped Chris Rock onstage in front of a live audience.

Rock, 57, and Chappelle, 49, are co-headlining a comedy tour together. In September, Chappelle reportedly spoke about Smith at a show in England, saying he "did an impression of a perfect man for 30 years."

The Telegraph reported that Chappelle claimed Smith "ripped his mask off and showed us he was as ugly as the rest of us," adding, "Whatever the consequences are … I hope he doesn't put his mask back on again, and lets his real face breathe."

Perry, 53, said during a Tribeca Film Festival Q&A in June that it had been a "very difficult" experience being friends with both Smith and Rock after the Oscars incident, which he was in the audience for. Perry said in the moments after the slap, Smith "was devastated; he couldn't believe what happened. He couldn't believe he did it."

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Smith — who resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was banned from attending its ceremonies for the next 10 years — said in a video earlier this summer that he has been doing "a lot of thinking and personal work" in the months since the incident.

He said, "I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

Smith explained that he is "trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself," adding, "I'm human. I made a mistake and I'm trying not to think of myself as a piece of s---."

The actor also addressed his disappointed fans: "I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn't live up to people's image and impression of me."

"I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world," he continued in the video. "And if you hang on, I promise we'll be able to be friends again."

Emancipation is in theaters Dec. 2 and streaming on Apple TV+ Dec. 9.

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