Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars was seen around the world, making it one of the most contentious hits ever. At first, I felt good when Smith slapped Rock for insulting his wife. How many times as a journalist working in corporate America for 25 years have I listened to how the “brothers” sometimes disrespect us? I was proud, thinking here is a man showing the world you don’t disrespect a black woman and get away with it.
Then I thought after watching four years of the Trump camp–porn payoff, foul language, brawling, stealing, I’ve realized that adults can be the worse role models of our youth. Sure, Smith was hurt, but the night was not about him, it was about something much greater, the Academy where blacks have tried to win respect for decades.
If Smith and Rock could have just waited until the Oscars were over with and gone out into the alley and bludgeoned each other–Rock for disrespecting Mrs. Smith and Smith for slapping Rock and rolling on the sidewalk, tearing each other’s clothes, oh well. That would have made a good movie for later.
Taking the Spotlight Away From King Williams
Unfortunately, Smith’s actions took the spotlight off of King Williams, which as the Academy knew, sent a message of how a black father avoided the insults of white men who thought his daughters didn’t belong on a tennis court. King Richard was a creative genius, a role model for us all. If only Smith has paid attention to what Denzell Washington had said, “At that level, the devil will come after you.”
Many people reach a point where they think their actions are all about us and do not think of the consequences. Nevertheless, our culture loves trashy stuff, especially when blacks are the stars in it. No doubt Smith and Rock will have to make more money from the notoriety. Just tell the kids to watch the movie and disregard the slap and show them how U.S. Senator Cory Booker defended a black woman, Judge Ketanji Jackson when white men were doing their usual act of trying to demean her. He handled it with grace and dignity. It was an unforgettable moment for me.
For more commentary on the Oscars slap, check out this Washington Post article.
Be sure to also check out more of my articles here.