The Men in Black star, 47, next slated to appear in this summer's Suicide Squad, accepted the award at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards on Saturday.
Or as Smith put it in his acceptance, "At first I thought the Generation Award was code for the 'Old Ass Dude Award' – congratulations, your best work is behind you."
He had an introduction befitting his record-breaking success, not just in film but in music. First Kevin Hart introduced Andy Samberg's The Lonely Island to perform a medley of Smith's hits, including "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Gettin' Jiggy wit It," and they then welcomed Queen Latifah who then welcomed Halle Berry onstage to present the award.
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic
"Will Smith and MTV have grown up together and share a very cool history," Executive Producer Casey Patterson said in an earlier statement. "MTV was a part of every phase of Will's career and he has been a huge part of what defined the MTV culture from the beginning."
Smith's decades-long and highly bankable (and acclaimed) film career in a variety of genres has earned him labels such as "the most powerful actor in Hollywood" and made him one of the most successful performers in history.
Show host Dwayne Johnson announced the news of Smith's award on Instagram last month, writing, along with a short video clip, "When I first broke into Hollywood 15yrs ago, all I wanted to do was learn the business and put in the hard work to have a career like his. It's a real privilege to honor you my friend."
Smith said he works to spread his success: While accepting the award, he said he is "dedicated to being a light in this world."
The 2016 MTV Movie Awards air Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.