Will Smith debuted his new single “You Can Make It” at the 2024 BET Awards, just two days after releasing the track that features Fridayy and Sunday Service Choir.

For his first-ever BET Awards performance, Smith stood on a circular podium in the middle of a ring of fire, backed by Fridayy and Sunday Service Choir. Gospel icon Kirk Franklin made a surprise appearance to deliver a spoken-word sermon as Smith was joined by a robust group of backup singers, closing the song out on a positive note: “Nobody gets an easy ride / We all have a cross to bear / But there’s wisdom in the fire / And every moment is an opportunity / Embrace the journey,” he said.

Right before he released “You Can Make It,” he posted a video on Instagram with a caption explaining his intentions behind the song. “Through some of my darkest moments, music has always been there for me – to lift me and help me grow. It’s my humble wish that it can do the same for you and bring you all the joy and light you deserve,” he wrote.

In anticipation of “You Can Make It,” Smith has been teasing new music for a minute. In May, he told Fandango that he had been in the studio for a few years, and hinted on his Instagram that his upcoming album may be titled “Dance in Your Darkest Moments.” Additionally, singer Teddy Swims said that he recently recorded a song with Smith and that “he’s the sweetest guy ever.”

Prior to his performance at the BET Awards, Smith hit the stage most recently at the “Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop,” where he joined DJ Jazzy Jeff for a medley of both solo and collaborative hits. The duo, who were the first rap act to receive a Grammy award for hip-hop in 1989 with “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” ran through songs including “Brand New Funk,” “Summertime” and Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” As he performed, his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith and children Willow and Jaden cheered him on from the audience.

The seasoned actor also returned to the big screen in the blockbuster “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” which hit theaters in June. The film was a smash at the box office, grossing nearly $332 million worldwide and becoming the ninth-highest-grossing film of this year.

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