Just like Black Panther, Jaden Smith doesn’t freeze.
But he does pause. Especially after I asked him about the various conspiracy theories he follows ― and there are several. Which one, I wondered, should people be most aware of?
The actor/rapper/humanitarian took a second to think about his answer. There’s the theory about the illuminati, which he talks about on his album “Syre.” There’s the theory about chemtrails, which he’s tweeted about.
“OK, OK, all right,” he said, “I will keep it real broad and simple, real broad and simple.”
“The technology that we’re currently at is not the maximum of the human capability,” he began, “and that there are places in the world where their technology supersedes what we see here on a daily basis. It’s made by humans, and it should be acknowledged, and it should be looked at because it could heal a lot of problems.”
“You mean like a real-world Wakanda?” I asked
“Yeah,” he said, ”type shit.”
Smith didn’t reveal a location. But that was fine by me. My mind was spinning from the rest of our conversation.
The actor sat down with me to talk about his new movie, “Skate Kitchen,” a film about a group of female skaters in New York City. But this is Jaden Smith we’re talking about. He’s not just an actor. According to him, he’s not even human.
So we didn’t just talk about “Skate Kitchen.” We talked about everything: his music, time travel, whether hot dogs are sandwiches, whether Batman is a superhero, the final scene of “Inception,” Barack Obama’s thoughts on aliens, vampires, his congressional aspirations and Carlton from “Fresh Prince.”
You’re in “Skate Kitchen.” You have a new album. You’re going on tour with J. Cole. Have you figured out time travel, or how are you doing all of this?
I figured out how to time travel in the future of my life, and my future self came back and told me that, so not yet, but I just try to do as much as possible. This is my full-time job. That’s the only way I can do it.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
Man, I think I’d be too scared to use a time machine. But if I could time travel, I would go back and change [the] “Star Wars” [line] back to “Luke, I am your father” again. Because it was it before and somehow changed, because someone went back in time and changed it.
And then I would go back in time and change it again, because it just bothers me. I wake up and I cry sometimes. I just want to change that.
Do you know who Rey’s parents are in “Star Wars”?
I have no idea. Who do you think?
I think it’s got to be someone important.
Are there theories?
I’m all about the theories, man.
What’s your favorite theory?
She’s related to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Oh, OK. Yeah, that would be crazy.
Yeah, it’d be sick. Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Yeah. It is a form of sandwich. There’s bread. It’s a step before a sandwich. You cut the back and squeeze it down, it becomes a thin sandwich. And I think... is a burger a sandwich? Yes. Therefore a hot dog can be argued to not be a sandwich, because it’s one piece of bread. But if it just gets that separation and that squeeze, then it becomes a sandwich.
So ... it’s a sandwich?
It is. It is.
You’ve said before that you were only able to talk to Jackie Chan and your dad [Will Smith] on movie sets. How was “Skate Kitchen” different, now that you have people your own age?
Best thing. So much fun. That’s why we’re still friends. That’s why we still hang out to this day, because we have each other, and we’re really catching a vibe all together.
Is Batman a superhero?
Batman is a superhero because, even though he has no technical powers, he’s still super-trained, you know? It’s like the same thing can be argued about Iron Man, you know? His suit, but he is still trained in all these different ways, so, yeah, Batman and Iron Man are both superheroes.
You have a song “Icon.” What’s most iconic about “Skate Kitchen”?
I think, just, the girls. All of them. Just the story. I think they’re the icons of the movie. They deserve all the credit.
Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio was asleep or awake at the end of “Inception”?
Dude, your questions are genius.
Was he in inception still or not? That’s such a good question, bro! Um, he wasn’t. He wasn’t. He wasn’t. It was over. It was over. Or he was? Do you think he was still there?
Well, I think the top was going to fall. They didn’t even have the top not falling in the original script.
I think he was there just for the sake of his kids. I hope he was there. That’s such a crazy thought, though. Taking me back, bro. Really took me back.
In your new movie, Camille [Rachelle Vinberg] hides skateboarding from her mom. Why do you think that’s important to the story, and do you ever relate to that?
Parents need to know that kids hide things from them. Even though they do know that, because they were all kids. But sometimes it’s like, kids hide a lot of things. But it’s like... skating. It’s almost like hiding being gay or something, that, like, in this day and age, in this time, you shouldn’t have to do that. Especially from your parents. So I think it gives perspective for people. Like, damn, that’s so sad to have to hide that from your mom when really you should be focusing on spending time and being together.
What was it like when you asked President Obama about aliens?
That was the best moment of my life, honestly. I had to do it for all of us alien conspiracy theorists around the world. Just, somebody has to do it. I was actually brought up [in conversation] by like a huge lawyer trying to disclose extraterrestrials in Canada to a senator. They brought [my interaction with Obama] up to prove the fact that UFOs are becoming a mainstream topic, even though that’s the last thing they needed to prove it. But I had to, and he pretty much gave me everything I needed to know. I’d love to ask him again, now that his office rules are probably different, but pretty much he said ...
First off, I didn’t ask him.
Let me clarify the story for everybody. I never asked Obama about aliens ever in my life. What happened was, I was about to ask him, and then my dad says, “I’m going to make this go smooth. Don’t say anything, Jaden. Sir, Mr. President, my son Jaden has a question for you.” I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything. President Obama asked me, “You want to know about the aliens?”
First off, I never asked President Obama about extraterrestrials or about the existence of extraterrestrial life on Planet Earth or the government being in communication with them. I never asked any of those questions. I never hinted at those questions. I never said that I had a question for him later that was going to be a weird question. The first thing out of [his mouth] ― I could’ve wanted to asked about the huge presidential private plane. I could’ve wanted to ask about, like, underground tunnels. I could’ve wanted to ask about the pyramids or something ― he immediately was like, “You want to know about the aliens?”
That’s a major. Not even a red flag. That’s a good flag. That’s a major, like, win. That’s already one win, you know what I’m saying? It’s already one win. Then he says, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence of extraterrestrials.” That’s another win. “But if there was a time in a debriefing where I needed to be let known any type of information or if there needed to be a meeting, it would’ve or has happened in this room.”
Wow, what happened next?
I don’t know what happened. I blacked out. I forget.
When are we getting the vampire album?
Vampire album? Please remind me of what I once said.
I think it was on “Big Boy’s Neighborhood,” you talked about making an album about vampires.
OK, that will come soon because I’m obsessed with vampires. I never haven’t been. I never won’t be, so the vampire-fully-inspired album will be coming soon. I mean, the whole flying thing is kind of like I’m a lost boy. I’m a lost boy flying, some vampire. I haven’t introduced that side of lost boy yet. One day I’ll make a “Lost Boy” video that’s just all about vampires.
Yeah, real lost boy shit.
On your album, you talk about needing to be in the Senate. Do you really want to be in the Senate?
No, I don’t want to be in the Senate. But I just want more. I have another line in one of my new songs that’s unreleased, and it says, “Some on the first name basis. I try to put myself in the Senate ’til I realized they was all racist.”...
My main thing is I don’t ever want to be in the Senate, but I want to feel like I’m represented in the Senate. That’s the play on words in that song, and that’s more so what I was just trying to say.
What’s your Patronus?
Um ... dragon! Yeah, fucking dragon.
Definitely. That’s mine, too.
Yeah, dragon. Same.
Either a dragon or a Gordita from Taco Bell.
Yeah, totally. Yeah, fact.
You once said in an interview with GQ you’d be gone in 10 years and just randomly show up like Banksy and do art installations or make some kind of social impact. That was three years ago. Do we really only have seven years left of Jaden?
[At age] 27? Yeah, that sounds right. That sounds pretty accurate, bro. I feel like I’m kind of spot on with some stuff. Yeah, in seven years you will see me less frequently.
Yes, for sure, for sure. I have bigger plans, and being in the public eye at all times will be a distraction from those plans, and it won’t allow for the plans to be taken seriously.
Before you go then, what’s the meaning of life?
To be happy. To be happy. To find happiness and to help other people find the same thing. I haven’t found happiness, but that is the goal. Long-lasting happiness. Not just like happiness for a second, not just going to the club and having fun. It’s about long-lasting, dragged-out, extended happiness.
What’s one question you hate being asked and one you wish you were asked more?
I hate being asked where my dad is, as if I would drop the pinpoint on the exact longitude and latitude of the address of my father currently. I always tell people just, like, the wrong side of the world. The wrong hemisphere, that’s where my dad is. They’re like, “Oh, where’s your dad?” I’m like, “Dubai!” Anywhere else. Anywhere that’s 100 million miles away from where he actually is.
A question that I would like to be asked more is, “Who were the artists that inspired ‘Syre: The Electric Album’?” That’s a question I would like to be asked.
Who were the artists that inspired “Syre: The Electric Album”?
[Laughs] Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
Since you brought up your dad, have you seen the pic of him turning into Uncle Phil?
I haven’t seen that specific one, but I see him in real life all the time. I didn’t know that Carlton called Uncle Phil in the “Fresh Prince” ― he called him Big Man. He’d say, “Aw, hey, Big Guy. Big Guy. Big Guy.” And that’s what I call my dad. I call him Big Guy.
It comes up all the time ― people suggesting you be in a “Fresh Prince” reboot. What do you think about that?
No one really wants to see that. [Laughs] And if they did, I would. But they don’t. And as much as they convince themselves, people make it very clear they want it and then counterculture makes it clear that they don’t. So the only thing I would fathom thinking about doing is playing the voice of a character in an animated “Fresh Prince” series, and then one day in my life I will re-create an episode of the “Fresh Prince” just on my own. Just a one-off for fun.
But you think your dad is becoming Uncle Phil?
I’m like the new Carlton.
This interview has been edited and condensed.