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My Thoughts: Will Smith’s Slap at the Oscars

Many would say a man’s duty in life, especially if he has a wife and family, is to provide and protect. I’ve heard this over and over. Provide and Protect.

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night. However, late last night I received a text from my cousin. It was a link to a Facebook post about what happened. Initially I glanced over it as if it was nothing… like some random TikTok video or something. But, when I saw a video of Will Smith walking on the stage of the Oscars, open hand slapping Chris Rock in the face and yelling “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” from his seat. I was like… oh my goodness.

OK, so this is what happened (video).

Chris Rock is making random jokes prior to presenting an Oscar (remember he is a comedian). One of his jokes referenced similarities between GI Jane (character in an older movie) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Will’s wife), who shaved her head as part of her battle with alopecia.

After hearing the joke and seeing Jada’s response to it, Will gets out of his seat, walks on stage, and proceeds to slap Chris Rock in the face.

OK… so, at this point everyone is laughing thinking it’s a part of the show, right? Wrong. Will goes back to his seat and begins yelling at Chris. And, this is when everyone at the Oscars becomes completely silent, because they know Will is dead serious.

To premise my thoughts, first of all, I’ve met Will. I spoke to him and spent a little time in his company when he came to visit Jada on the set of film she was filming in New Orleans. He’s a very sharp guy and kind. That day after Will left the set, unknowingly to the executive producers, Will paid for the nicest food trucks in the city to come and feed everyone on set.

Despite what anyone says about Will. Despite his actions last night. In my opinion, knowing what he has done for others and understanding a pretty good bit about who he is. I feel Will is a good-hearted guy. And, I’m not the only person who feels this way. A lot of people love Will. His family is probably one of the most successful families in Hollywood.

Nevertheless, what could make Will respond the way he did at the Oscars last night?

I honestly don’t feel it was the joke about his wife. Because after initially hearing the joke, he smiled and dismissed it. But… as soon as he saw Jada’s feelings hurt by the joke, he immediately changed his response in order to protect his wife’s honor.

Because of what happened last night some may say Will Smith is violent, cannot control his emotions and should be banned from the Oscars.

I’ll say this. A lot of actors have done some crazy things. Probably nothing as dramatic as slapping and cursing someone at the Oscars, but definitely just as harmful. There have been tons of celebrities who have admitted to being violent with their spouse and/or having physical altercations with people.

Every entertainer is constantly scrutinized and joked about. It’s a part of the job. Most have learned to easily shrug off their true feelings, especially in front of a camera. I believe Will should have controlled his emotions and shrugged it off. And, he even apologized for what he did.

Final thoughts.

I’m not a judge. I can’t judge Will for responding how he did, or Chris for saying the joke. However, here are a few revelations I received after seeing what transpired last night.

We all need wise counsel. And, just fyi, therapy is not always wise counsel. After the incident Denzel Washington told Will, “In your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.” I’m sure if Will had people like Denzel in his life, he would have been more prepared for that moment.

We all need grace. Sometimes things just happen. We all have done something we regret. Many will be quick to judge Will. I feel this is a time to offer grace. Not because he’s a black man. Not because he’s a “good” guy. I feel the public should offer Will grace in his moment of weakness because he responded out of his love for his wife.

Last night Will Smith showed the world that his duty as a husband, which is to protect his wife, was more important than his career. And, I respect that.

I also respect Chris Rock for apologizing to the Smith family for the joke. Even though I truly feel Chris shouldn’t need to apologize for Jada and Will’s public offense to the joke.

Sometimes we need to turn the other cheek. Chris Rock was slapped by a grown man on national television and did not respond with aggression. Some will use this story to create a narrative of aggressive black men, yet will ignore Chris Rock’s response to being slapped. As he chose to be the bigger man and to respond without aggression.

Maybe there is more to the relationship between Will Smith and Chris Rock. I don’t know. But, what I do know is nothing like this just happens.

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