First thing I need to say is that I am both a Chris Rock and a Will Smith fan. Just days ago I was telling my wife that Will Smith is one of my favorite entertainers of all time. So keep this in mind as I share my opinion.
Also, it should be noted that Chris Rock is from the hood and while Will Smith had more of a middle class upbringing, he’s still from Philly. Despite their present financial status, these men were not born into money. These are hood dudes who made it out and got to this new status. Even Will said it before regarding his kids, “Jaden thinks he’s tough, but he ain’t hood, he doesn’t know how to throw down. They didn’t come from poverty and earn this lifestyle how we did, they were born into it.”
It should never be forgotten that we come from the streets. You should always keep in mind that at one point or another, violence was a regular and daily occurrence in our lives. Just because we are now peaceful and goofy, doesn’t mean that the street instincts are gone. You can actually push someone too far and have them call upon their street instincts.
Where we come from, disrespect requires an equal or greater response, it’s about survival. Your very existence depended on how you handled disrespect on the streets. That being said, though disappointing, this is not entirely surprising. There have been many, many times I’ve wanted to slap the taste out of someone’s mouth. Oh, I can’t even write about that though, I don’t have Will Smith money to fall back on.
So unless you are living under a literal rock (see what I did there) then you have already seen the memes and or heard the news of Will Smith slapping the crap out of Chris Rock. I was visiting my mom when the oscars started and everything was normal when I left and got in the subway. By the time I got home though, the internet was abuzz with the slap heard round the world.
So anyone who watches any awards shows knows that at these shows, comics and hosts roast the audience. It’s the nature of the show and it’s not uncommon that they make some goofy jokes. As far as jokes go, in terms of meanness, I’d say a G.I. Jane joke is pretty soft and low level. Sure, it’s bad taste, but this is what they do.
Clearly Jada was unhappy about it right out the gate, but I saw Will Smith laughing until he saw his wife’s reaction. Then he took it to the streets. Will Smith, a dude who just yesterday I was watching on Disney Plus climbing into an underwater cave and looking at stalactites. What the hell just happened?
Well, he went Philly streets on Chris, that’s what happened. If you watch it a few times, you see he throws the slap and has one hand ready to defend by his chin. Chris Rock gets caught with the first shot and then you see he’s ready to react if there were any further shots, but Will turns his back on him and walks away. I have to say, I commend Chris Rock for not reacting and turning this into a melee. That would have been even worse. I wonder though, would Will have stepped up if The Rock made this same joke?
There are many people defending Will and saying Chris deserved it. But despite being a huge fan of Will’s, I think he was wrong for this. I’ve seen people say that he’s fed up with always being clowned and disrespected and maybe that’s it. But this was not a good look, despite whatever he may have going on behind closed doors.
I mean I only I just found out that Jada has a health issue called alopecia which causes hair loss. Until this happened though, I had no idea that she had any health issues. I think it stands to reason that Rock maybe didn’t know. I can’t speak to that because I just don’t know? But it is a possibility.
Will could have taken this and made it a teachable moment while really coming out on top. Imagine if he got up there and took the mic to raise awareness for alopecia and stood against making fun of someone without all the details instead of pimp smacking this dude? But as a fellow man from the street, I understand that he did what he felt he had to do at that very moment. We’ve all acted on impulse and done dumb stuff in our lives. I can’t sit here and act holier than thou when there have been many moments where I’m just seconds from punching someone in the face myself. Though I think the outcomes would be quite different if someone like me does it. I can’t even mention violence in context without being reprimanded on social media, imagine if I acted on it in the real world.
Unfortunately for Will, this was in front of the real world at a prestigious event. Mind you, it’s not the first time Will smacked someone on camera. Remember the dude who tried to kiss him after an interview? No one really lost their minds then as that was sexual assault to a degree. The reaction in that scenario was more understood by the public.
This time though, it’s just not a good look. Fortunately for him, Chris Rock has apparently chosen not to press charges as per the LAPD. He’s lucky because an arrest would be an even worse look. Will needs to apologize and thank Chris for not having him locked up. Furthermore, he better hope that Chris doesn’t sue him and the Oscars for carrying on like nothing happened after this assault.
Whether or not you agree with the joke he made, you have to agree that as a brand, as a person who always preaches positivity, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock was not a good thing. I hope that they both work this out and make it into a positive thing. Maybe Chris will turn this negative event into brand new stand up material? I also hope that come later today, Will Smith’s earth series is still on Disney Plus cause I’m not done watching it yet.
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.