Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith join Obama youth initiative


Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are adding their star power to US president Barack Obama's initiative to boost opportunities for vulnerable young Americans.

The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation said it will launch a Careers in Entertainment tour to support the president's My Brother's Keeper initiative on its two-year anniversary.

In keeping with the initiative's goals, the tour will be aimed at helping underserved high school and college students interested in entertainment industry careers, the foundation said.

Will Smith posing for photographers during the premiere of the film 'Concussion' in Madrid in January
Will Smith posing for photographers during the premiere of the film Concussion in Madrid in January (Abraham Caro Marin/AP)

"The Careers in Entertainment Tour is an engine for change in our industry, and a means of closing the gap between dreams and the tools necessary to achieve them," Jada said in a statement, reports Associated Press.

The president's initiative was launched in 2014 with the goal of helping boys and young men of colour and other young people overcome barriers to fulfilling their potential. It has enlisted businesses, non-profit organisations and local government in the effort.

The task force "applauds the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation for responding to President Obama's call to action to ensure all youth have clear pathways to opportunity and success", said Broderick Johnson, who chairs My Brother's Keeper, in a statement.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The announcement comes two months after the Oscars faced criticism for an all-white list of acting nominees, which some observers said reflected both the movie academy's and industry's closed ranks.

The tours, set to begin this autumn, will be done in partnership with the US Small Business Administration and other organisations, the foundation said.

Students will hear from film and TV industry professionals about a wide variety of jobs involved in the creation, distribution and marketing of entertainment projects.

The foundation said it and affiliates will help students identify skills and knowledge needed for jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.