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Everybody Hates Chris, Including Will Smith

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

No one, and I mean no one expected a night at the 2022 Oscar’s to lead to an unforgettable infamous night involving actor, rapper, and film producer Will Smith (53) slapping comedian, Chris Rock (57). It was a slap that could be heard around the world and back. Talk about impressive acting right? Well, unfortunately these two well respected celebrities weren’t acting for the people this go around. 

It started when Rock made word play on Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, who has been publicly open about having alopecia. But as comedians are known to do, Rock decided to make a joke about Jada by affirming his wait for “G.I. Jane 2” to be released in reference to her bald head. After the joke you can see immediately how Smith laughs but is quickly shut down when a clear view shot of Jada’s face expresses disgust about the joke. And that’s when we all see Smith charge down the isle at Rock like he was reenacting one of his films. The grin shown on his face that’s seen as he walks back to his seat, made people believe it was all staged, until he yelled with enrage “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth,” some very unexpected and vulgar words people were appalled to hear from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air himself.  

This was a disappointing night for those such as myself who grew up watching these two and know about their history together. I remember the episode “Get a Job” when Rock played a dual role in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” as the homely sister of a comedian, whom he also portrayed. Though the good old days have seem to regrettably cease, it’s still a known fact that Rock has made jokes about Jada before.

Back in 2016 the, #OscarsSoWhite started when Jada boycotted the academy due to the lack of diversity for Black nominees. Rock made a joke about this stating, “Jada said she’s not coming, Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” I’m sure we all can agree Smith was wrong for the slap, but Rock’s joke is still debatable for some people.  

Smith’s apology to Rock didn’t come until the next day on social media with him saying “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.” One can only imagine what Smith is dealing with at home, but it doesn’t justify the anger he projected onto Rock. And for the Oscar’s to mention in their statement afterwards that they do not condone violence but allowed him to accept the award as if nothing had just happened was the second shock of the night for me. Under circumstances such as this, a runner up would be suffice. And just because Rock has chosen not to press charges at the moment, doesn’t mean he won’t as he still has time to do so, but says he has no interest addressing the slap situation until he sees some money. “I’m OK. I have a whole show, and I’m not talking about that until I get paid,” Rock told his audience members during the comedy set on Saturday, April 9 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. 

Shortly after, Smith did resign from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, permitting him from voting but able to still attend and be nominated saying “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,”. As a black woman, I was embarrassed for the whole Black community that night as I watched and rewatched Smith in disbelief. This was a night to also honor more Blacks within the film industry and for the ideal family man, known for his ability to rap without cursing, allowing social media to get to him and his mental state, along with his wife exposing all of their martial problems from sex, to old perished lovers she’s still holding on to (e.g., Tupac Shakur) is disheartening.

The entanglement that occurred over almost two years ago between R&B singer August Alsina and Jada, has the “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” artist appear ailing on social media. She dishes out their issues on her Facebook Red Talk Table show featuring daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. From talking about not being pleased by her husband in the bedroom, to missing her first true love Tupac, Jada has really put Smith through a vast amount of humiliation. It even effected their daughter Willow as a child to the point were she wrote a letter to Tupac explaining how much her mommy misses him and wishes he would come back to her so she could be happy again. 

Alas, a final decision to ban Smith was made on April 8, nearly a month since the slap and the day after Rocks first stand up comedy tour in years. This prohibits him from any events or programs held virtually or in person including, but not limited to the Academy Awards for the next 10 years. A range of celebrities have provided their perspective on the incident and believe what many others do, which is Smith could have chosen a much different response, knowing he was likely to win the best actor Oscar for “King Richard” and could’ve roasted Rock in his acceptance speech — but instead he chose violence and two wrongs don’t make a right. But if Rock is content through it all, I believe for his support, we as fans should be as well.  

It brings me so much joy to be a part of Her Campus. As a graduate student with a plethora of life experiences on what it is like after college or even during, is an amazing feeling to be able to use and help those younger than me. I look forward to being a guide, a mentor and more to young women trying to survive in this tough society.
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