Will Smith dusts off rapping vocals for surprise cameo during J Balvin's Coachella set


The trippy otherworldly space visuals that provided an undeniably epic backdrop (perhaps the best of the festival so far) for J Balvin’s set on Sunday took on newfound thematic significance when the Reggaeton star brought out the iconic rapper and actor Will Smith.

Smith appeared as a literal man in black as he was dressed in the clean-cut suit and sunglasses of his character from the famous '90s film and received a rapturous welcome from the crowd that only grew more excited as he began rapping to the movie’s iconic theme song.

During the scene, Balvin also appeared to be mock carried away by other "Men in Black" agents while someone standing by me said he seemed to pull out a neutralizer, the famous memory-wiping device from the movie. He didn’t actually use it, however, as this appearance was one to remember.

At the conclusion of the spectacular scene, text reading “Dance in your Darkest Moments” appeared on the screens around the stage.

I’m not sure what the intention of that was, but it felt defiant, bizarre and a little hilarious given Smith’s high-profile fall from grace that occurred when he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars two years ago. Thankfully, Smith got through this appearance on stage without slapping anyone.

Will Smith and J Balvin perform at the Coachella Stage on April 14, 2023.
Will Smith and J Balvin perform at the Coachella Stage on April 14, 2023.

The performance came a few hours after Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, posted a carousel of photos on Instagram showing her enjoying the festival with her husband and their daughter Willow. The caption, which read "A great show and old friends," seemed to be a reference to the final photo, which showed Pinkett Smith embracing popstar Justin Bieber while Smith smiled in the background.

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Willow performed at Coachella in 2023, bringing her brother Jaden Smith on stage to sing their collab "Summertime in Paris."

Afterwards, the siblings poignantly gushed about each other with Jaden saying how proud he was to watch Willow playing on such a big stage, while Willow called him her favorite person.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Coachella: Will Smith raps during J Balvin set in surprise appearance