Will Smith AIDS Ambassador For Nelson Mandela

Will Smith has teamed

with Nelson Mandela in an effort to educate the millions of young people who are

most susceptible to AIDS in South Africa.

Smith has taken

the roll of AIDS ambassador for the Nelson Mandela Foundation and will play

a critical role in reaching young people in South Africa, where the disease

has hit hard.

"I was saying

to you [Mandela] I am an actor, I make rap music that's what I do, what can

I do...and he said you have to understand the power that you have and the hope

that is created by what you do," Smith told Reuters in a news conference

with Mandela. "Today the call has spoken to me and I humbly, gratefully

and will aggressively respond," he said.

During the press

conference, the two icons showed solidarity by wearing black shirts bearing

the number 46664, Mandela’s prison number that he bore during his 27-years

of imprisonment for resisting white minority rule.

In March of 2002,

the rapper said that his perception of Hollywood changed after meeting the former

South African president.

"He told me

that in prison, he was only allowed to watch one movie every six months, and

that he looked forward to it more than anything because he saw such hope in

cinema,” Smith told the BBC’s Radio Times in an interview from 2002.

“It revealed the worst human tragedies and the greatest human possibilities,

and he told me never to underestimate the power of what I do - to make people

laugh, cry and think."