Will, Jada, Chris, and the Oscars
The Slap that Everyone Felt
I thought it was staged. A hoax. A little thrill to shake up the Oscars. But it wasn’t a scripted scene to wake everyone up. It was real. Very real.
Chris Rock, a veteran comedian, came out to announce the winner of the Documentary category. But before he did that, he did a mini stand-up routine. He made some jokes directed toward Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz, they laughed, and the audience laughed. It was all good fun.
Then, Rock turned his attention toward Will and Jada. Rock said, “Jada, I love ya and I can’t wait to see you in G.I. Jane 2!” There was a mix of laughter and disapproving scolding from the audience. When the camera panned on Will and Jada, Will initially laughed at the joke. But Jada did not look happy. She rolled her eyes and turned away from Chris Rock.
Rock went on saying, “It wasn’t that bad,” and laughed it off. He was then about to begin talking about the Documentary category when there was murmuring from the audience. Rock said, “Uh oh,” as Will approached the stage. Rock had a smile on his face and looked to lean forward as if he was expecting to get a word from Will. It was at the moment Will hauled off and slapped Rock across the face. Will didn’t say anything after the smack, he just turned with a smirk on his face, and went back to his table.
Rock stood there stunned for a moment. He then said, “Wow, Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me.” From his table, Will shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Rock snapped out from his shock and replied, “It was just a joke.” In which Will repeated, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Rock answered, “Alright, I will.” Rock went on to state that “this was the greatest moment in Oscar history.” This garnered a few laughs from the audience.
Since the incident, on Sunday, March 27th, Smith went on to win Best Actor for his role as the father of Venus and Serena Williams (“King Richard). He apologized to the Oscars during his acceptance speech. A couple of days later he apologized on his Instagram page to Rock. Tongues have been wagging since Sunday and everyone has put in their two cents about who was right and who was wrong in the Smith-Rock drama.
The Academy board will meet to decide on any further punishment for Smith. Smith has already resigned his membership from the Academy. Rock did six shows in Boston and told the audience the first night that he was still processing the situation. Rock’s brother called Jada a “bitch” and didn’t accept Will’s apology. There may be a Red Table Talk episode about the incident soon.
Will Packet, the producer for the Oscars, was interviewed by T.J. Holmes about the incident. The police had been called the informed Holmes. Rock didn’t want to press charges. Even before Smith had won his Best Actor award, he was asked to leave the room and refused. It just boggles my mind that Smith could just slap Chris Rock and want to remain in the audience.
The entire situation is an embarrassment, especially for Smith. Rock made an insensitive joke and shouldn’t have. Jada has Alopecia. She discussed her situation not too long before the Oscars. She arrived at the event in a gorgeous green gown. It had ruffles and a long train. Jada’s head was shaved in a buzz-cut style. She looked beautiful.
Smith shouldn’t have slapped Rock. Old heads complained about respectability politics in front of the white folks. I don’t care about respectability. White people don’t respect Black people anyway. I didn’t think Will should have slapped Rock in front of the world. If he wanted to have words or fight him, he should have done it backstage — fewer cameras and witnesses.
No one asked Jada how she felt about the situation — the joke or the slap. She posted a strange quote on her Instagram page. I didn’t understand the quote, but it didn’t seem like she was mad at Will. Yes, he defended her honor and it seems in today’s world, Black men aren’t sticking up for Black women. On one side, I’m happy to see a Black man defend his woman’s honor. However, the manner in which he did wasn’t the way. Violence is never the answer — at least not so publicly.
I hope Smith and Rock can come together in the near future and talk the situation out. Smith owes Rock a face to face apology. That would be the right thing to do. Rock owes Jada an apology. He should have known about her Alopecia struggles. All I can say is that the two need to make peace and move on. Hopefully, some other celebrity drama will outshine this one and we can all forget about the slap.