What’s going on, y’all?
So, the 2022 Academy Awards aired this past Sunday (Mar. 27, 2022), but I forgot to tune in. The only thing on my mind that night was trying to catch up on the episodes of Top Chef that I’ve missed this season. Once I realized that I already missed half the ceremony as well as Beyoncé’s opening performance, I went on Twitter to see what everyone had to say about Queen Bey. To my surprise, Mrs. Carter wasn’t even the main topic of discussion. Will Smith and Chris Rock were.
I had to see what the hell everyone was talking about. Sure enough, I came across a video showing Chris on stage, joking around while he was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature. One of the jokes he made was about Mrs. Jada Pinkett-Smith, stating that he can’t wait to see her star in GI Jane 2. For you youngins out there, in the film GI Jane, Demi Moore stars as a female naval officer that’s approached to be the first woman to join the Navy SEALS. Like all the other male recruits, she has to shave her head during training. Jada is current sporting a bald head herself, but it turns out that she didn’t shave her head as a fashion statement. She’s suffering from alopecia.
Will laughed at the joke at first, but Jada had a look of annoyance on her face.
After seeing his wife’s reaction to Chris’s joke, Will made his way on to the stage without breaking stride—while the cameras were still rolling—and promptly slapped the dog snot out of Chris. Then he turned and walked back to his seat—again without breaking stride—like everything was everything! After Will sat back down, he twice warned Chris, “Keep my wife’s name out yo’ fuckin’ mouth!” Lord…
Now, when I first watched that video, I figured the whole thing was staged. After all, I remember how realistic Eminem and Sacha Baron Cohen’s “altercation” during the 2009 MTV Movie Awards looked. It was later revealed that the entire thing was fabricated for entertainment value.
Not only did I remember Em and Sacha’s fake fight, but I noticed that Will wasn’t escorted out of the building, and the cops never arrived to take him in for assault. He stayed for the remainder of the awards ceremony, and he even appeared on stage for his acceptance speech when he won his first Oscar for Best Actor! Oh yeah, during his speech, he apologized to the Academy…but not Chris.
However, according to Mr. Scott Feinberg, Will had to be consoled by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry after the incident. The Hindustan Times confirmed that Bradley Cooper had a heart-to-heart with Will as well.
When I woke up Monday morning (Mar. 28, 2022) to check the Twitter feed again, I saw that the Academy released a statement.
This wasn’t no staged event. This shit was real.
Man…if you asked me last week if there was any chance that Will Smith of all people would put hands on someone—at the Oscars, no less—I’d tell you there was no way in hell. I’m still in shock. What’s even crazier is how divided people are over this subject. Twitter is still having a field day, and now the celebrities are speaking out. Some people think Will was justified in slappin’ the shit out of Chris. Others believe Will was deadass wrong and should be arrested for assault. Then you have people that think what Will did was wrong, but they can understand why he did it, and applaud him for taking up for his wife.
Many people believe that this incident between Chris and Will was a long time coming. Back in 2016, when Jada boycotted the Academy Awards ceremony with her #OscarsSoWhite campaign, Chris hosted the event and talked a bit of trash about her during his opening monologue. “Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” He also went on to clown Will, stating, “It’s not fair that Will was this good [in Concussion] and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20M for Wild Wild West!” I can’t get mad at that last joke. Wild Wild West was hot garbage.
Despite all the reports that there’s still bad blood between Chris and the Smiths because of the former’s 2016 monologue, per an article with Entertainment Weekly, Jada claimed that she had no hard feelings about Chris’s jokes. Is it possible that while Jada brushed off what Chris said, Will didn’t? I’m sure that will reveal itself in time.
There’s a part of me that wonders if there was a bigger reason for Will going off on Chris (even Lovelyti mentioned this during her most recent livestream). For the last year and a half, Will’s been clowned by social media thanks to Jada’s past “entanglement” with August Alsina. Every time I look up, there’s some type of meme or mention of their infamous Red Table Talk episode. Maybe being looked upon as a cuckolded punk took its toll on Will, and after hearing Chris make fun of his wife the other night, things came to a head and Will figured he had to stand up and be a “real man” for his lady. Again, the truth will reveal itself in time.
Interestingly enough, while I was writing this, Will finally issued an apology to Chris via Twitter.
So as usual, here’s my two cents on the situation. Will was wrong. I commend him for standing up for his woman, but there’s a time and place for everything. The Academy Awards wasn’t the time or place. That scene not only made us look ghetto, but it also took away from the achievements a lot of other people celebrated that night (Questlove and Samuel L. Jackson winning their first Oscars, Beyoncé’s first performance in five years,” Will Packer producing the show along with an all-black production team, which will probably never happen again thanks to that resounding bitch slap).
The slap even took away from Will’s own Oscar moment. While watching his speech on YouTube, all I could think about was how he was allowed to stay in the building and accept his award after smackin’ the hell out of someone mere minutes beforehand. To be honest, I’m still shocked that he was able to remain at the ceremony after what he did. The Academy just released a statement to Variety claiming they did ask Will to leave, but he refused. Whatever, y’all. If you really wanted him removed from the building, you would’ve found a way, whether he liked it or not (besides, The Hindustan Times tells a somewhat different story).
Some folks think the powers that be decided to let him stay because they knew he’d win, but in all honesty, they still could’ve escorted him out and had a friend accept the Oscar in his place. Hell, if Marlon Brando could have a friend publicly reject his Oscar nearly 50 yrs. ago, Will could’ve had an associate take his.
As for Chris, according to Charlamagne tha God, they spoke after the show and Chris admitted that he wasn’t aware that Jada had a medical condition. If that really is true, the joke was innocent. If Chris did know about Jada’s alopecia diagnosis, then he’s just as guilty as Will. By the way, it’s not lost on me—or too many other black women—that Chris wrote and narrated the 2009 Good Hair documentary. Again for you youngins, Good Hair is a documentary about black women’s hair, and the many ways we style our gorgeous crowns (the documentary was made a few short years before the natural hair revolution took the world by storm). Check it out, it’s actually really good.
For that fact alone, many folks believe that Chris shouldn’t have even went in on Jada’s hair regardless. Again, if Chris knew about her condition, it was jacked up, but if he didn’t, that joke was tame at best. Also, despite what people are saying, I don’t believe Jada’s condition was common knowledge. I didn’t know she suffered from alopecia; I thought she shaved her head to try a new style much like Tamar Braxton and Tiffany Haddish. Not even Lovelyti knew about it, and that child stays on top of celebrity news. Hair or no hair, Jada still looks gorgeous.
From what I’ve heard about Chris, he isn’t a malicious man, and although he’s been known to make jokes concerning controversial topics, people close to him have stated that he wouldn’t make fun of someone’s health issues. Either way, Will should have talked things out with Chris behind closed doors. Maybe then he would’ve learned that Chris didn’t mean to hurt Jada’s feelings and they could’ve squashed the beef between them. Or Will may have learned that Chris did hear a little something and he could’ve just beat his ass in private.
Just kiddin’. 😂😂
Thankfully for Will, Chris opted not to press charges against him, but there’s still a possibility that a lawsuit may be filed. No one has mentioned any type of litigation yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out, considering the humiliation Chris must’ve felt after Will smacked him in front of millions of people.
Even if the lawsuit never comes to fruition, Will is still in deep doo-doo, because the Academy is launching a review into his conduct and he faces expulsion from the organization. There’s also a possibility that Will may lose the Oscar that he worked so long and hard to procure. That’s a damn shame. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen considering other Oscar winners with much more questionable conduct (Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski) were allow to keep their statues.
To Will and all the men out there—namely the black men—I say this: yes, protect us. Yes, stand up for us. Yes, don’t let others run us down. However, be sure to have restraint and self-control. Remember there’s a time and place for everything. Communicate. Use your words. Don’t react first and ask questions later. Don’t let your emotions and/or pent-up anger and frustration lead you to do something rash, because your actions have consequences (Chris, that goes for you too, if you knew about Jada having alopecia and still decided to make that quip).
Before I end this post, let me tell y’all about a strange coincidence…about an hour before I watched Will strike Chris in the mouth, I listened to his 1998 hit “Miami” (one of my favorite Will Smith songs, by the way) on Sirius XM’s ’90s on 90, and I was jammin’. Man, that song still slaps (pun intended)!
—Written by Nadiya
What do y’all think about this situation? Was Will right to slap Chris, or was he wrong? Was Chris’s joke harmless or was it justification for him being smacked? Whose side are you on? Do you believe Chris’s joke set Will off, or do you think it was something deeper? Also, do you believe Will should keep his Oscar, or should the Academy revoke it? Should Will be expelled from the Academy? Do you believe the Academy’s claim that they tried to make Will leave the building? Did you know about Jada’s alopecia? Let me know in the comments section!