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Will_Smith_by_Gage_SkidmoreWill Smith is currently preparing to try and fill the shoes of the comedic giant, Robin Williams, by becoming the next incarnation of the beloved Disney character, the Genie, in the live action adaptation of “Aladdin.” Even as he is gearing up to take on a role that is so central to so many people’s childhoods, he took time to reflect about his grandmother, Gigi, on Instagram. The 49 year old actor posted a picture of Gigi holding him as a baby and opened up about how she influenced both his future career and his Christian faith.

When Smith was a budding pre-teen rapper, Gigi found his book of profanity laden raps. “She found my rap book and she never said anything to me but she wrote in the back of it ‘Dear Willard, truly intelligent people do not have to use words like this to express themselves,'” he said. “’Please show the world that you’re as smart as we think you are. Love Gigi.'”

Smith had previously mentioned this story on social media, but on Sunday he opened up more about how the woman he nicknamed “Jesus’ girl” shaped his faith and career with her note. “That was probably the single most impactful event that shaped how I led and how I still lead my career,” Smith said. “She made me realize that I wasn’t creating only for me. The things I created were going to have an effect on her and were going to have an effect on everyone who came into contact with my artistry. It was such a blessing…At 12 years old, I realized I was connected to everybody else in the process.”

In addition to teaching Smith that no man is an island, Smith credits Gigi for shaping his Christian faith. The actor said that Gig instilled his Christian faith in him and commented, “My grandmother was really my connection to God…She was my spiritual teacher, she was that grandmother at the church, the one having the kids doing the Easter presentations and putting on the Christmas plays and her kids and grandkids had to be first. She was the most spiritually certain person that I had ever met in my entire life. Even to the point that when she was dying she was happy, like she was really excited about going to heaven.”

This is not the first time Smith has spoken about his Christian faith, and it is unlikely to be the last. That his grandmother was so central to the development of a prominent Christian celebrity’s faith only goes to show exactly how much impact a single person can have, whether they know it or not.

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