By now you’ve seen the video of Will Smith slapping the taste out of Chris Rock’s mouth at the 94th Annual Academy Awards. Rock was presenting the award for best documentary and joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.” Will didn’t find the joke funny and walked on stage and slapped Rock. Smith was heard yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”
The sports world reacted to the slap round the world and Stephen A. Smith was one of the loudest voices.
“He just stained the greatest moment of his career. You cannot do that S$&@!! Especially as a BLACK MAN, in that position, to ANOTHER BLACK MAN (@) on THAT STAGE. If this was not a joke, Will won’t live this down!!!”
If @willsmith seriously did that — and he wins the OSCAR — he just stained the greatest moment of his career. You cannot do that S$&@!!Especially as a BLACK MAN, in that position, to ANOTHER BLACK MAN(@chrisrock) on THAT STAGE. If this was not a joke, Will won’t live this down!!!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 28, 2022
Serena, like many in attendance was stunned by the incident between Rock and Will Smith.
Serena’s reaction lol (from her Instastory) pic.twitter.com/04uuBk0AAj
— LaWanda (@lawanda50) March 28, 2022
That this is dominating the news cycle and requiring think pieces and deep analysis on the merits of comedy vis á vis medical conditions, Pinkett Smith suffers from Alopecia Areata, is a reflection of where we are as a society. An event we’re not 100 percent sure wasn’t staged is leading every single major and minor news outlet in the world.
Do we really need 1,000-word pieces on the stigma attached to alopecia? Do we need to take Smith’s act as a connection to domestic violence as many made on Twitter?
Rock is a comedian. When comedians are hosts and/or presenters at awards shows, anyone in the audience can get it. Now there are certain areas that are off limits, but an unfunny joke about the sequel to ’90s movie was the spark for this out-of-control fire?
If this was in fact a real moment, Rock told a bad joke and Will Smith overreacted. That’s all.
If this was a staged moment, there are plenty of reasons to believe it was: The failure of the Academy Awards to capture the pop culture zeitgeist, Rock’s upcoming comedy tour, and does Will have anything he wants to promote?
The actor fought back tears when accepting hs first Academy Award.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said. “In this time of my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses who played Venus and Serena.
“I’m being called on in my life to love people, and to protect people, and to be a river to my people. And I know that to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business. You gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and act like that’s OK. Denzel said to me a few moments ago, ‘That’s your highest moment. Be careful, that’s when the Devil comes for you.’ It’s like, I wanna be a vessel for love. I wanna say thank you to Venus and Serena, for entrusting me with your story.”