Will Smith Interview (1998):
I: "What kind of student were you?
WS: "I was the fun one who had trouble paying attention. Today they'd diagnose me as a child with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]. I was a B student who should've been getting A's – classic underachiever. It was hard for me to read an entire book in two weeks. Today I buy a book and have someone read it for me on tape! [Laughs loudly] "
I: "You won a scholarship to study computer engineering at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology – why didn't you go? "
WS: "It didn't feel right. At seventeen, my first record came out in June. I was already gone with this career, and my dad said, "Let him do what he wants. "
I: "I'm surprised he had that reaction. "
WS: "He said, "He's not going to be happy if he doesn't make his own decisions about life." My mother, meanwhile, was losing it. We even visited the MIT campus, but I was scared of it. It just looked . . . hard! She couldn't believe I'd give up MIT for rap. This was before anybody made money rapping – only Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J and Beastie Boys. "
I: "Apparently you never felt the need to rebel against your parents. "
WS: "Well, at seventeen I was on my own, able to put into play everything I'd learned: the discipline, what makes strength and respect vs. fear. I went out in the world and tried them for myself. "