In the nearly two-minute clip, the 22-year-old artist and activist shared his journey to becoming an advocate for the environment and how he evolved into a leading voice in global climate activism.
“I want to say that it starts around the time of me being 10 years old and learning how to surf,” he explained in the video, amid a floral-covered room. “My surfing coach is telling me that the ocean is alive, and I think that’s the coolest thing that I ever heard. My environmental teacher told me that it was true that it was alive, but that it was actually dying. And when they explained to me that it was because of things that humans were doing that was, you know, putting CO2 in the atmosphere and acid into the ocean, it really hurt me.”
“My whole life became dedicated to trying to figure out this huge, massive problem and I wanted to try and find the lowest hanging fruit of something that I could impact within the environment,” he continued, mentioning his work with his company Just Water and his nonprofit 501CThree.
Smith then stressed the ongoing environmental racism crisis. “People are not getting the help that they need,” he explained. “People are not getting the infrastructure they need, the education they need. Even how pure the water it is, you know, how deadly it is, there’s so many young Black children that are just taking this in. Environmental racism needs to be spoken about more. It’s something that we need to change in the world because it’s just, it’s not OK. It’s heartbreaking.”
Levi’s Beauty of Becoming films, launched in partnership with Egbuonu, was originally released to coincide with Black History Month and rolling out through June. The denim brand will continue to spotlight artists, activists and changemakers, and honor the Black community’s rich past, present and future.