I think it’s safe to say that this year’s Oscars was a bit more action packed than anyone could have expected. As comedian Chris Rock took the stage to present an award he rattled off a few jokes, as comedians do. He took a crack at Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Then he took a jab at Jada Pinkett Smith who was sitting front row alongside her husband Will. Little did Chris know at the time, but this punchline was going to hit in a very different way.
Jada has been rocking a bald head for a while now, which, may I add, looks amazing on her. Last night at the Oscars was no different for the actress. Well, Chris Rock saw Jada and decided to make a G.I. Jane joke. A movie in which the main character was a woman, Demi Moore, sporting a bald head. Chris pointed at Jada and said, “Jada I love ya, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” While the crowd, including Will Smith, all laughed at the joke, Jada was not amused and visibly irritated when the camera cut to a shot of her not smiling and rolling her eyes. Cut next to a shot of her husband Will, who was nominated for Best Actor, walking on the stage towards Chris Rock and well…we were given the 2022 live rendition of The Slap. In case you missed it, go ahead and have a look below.
Many people in the moment, and even now, debate the authenticity of the actions that took place. Many think that this was staged. I happen to believe that it was in fact real. The next topic up for debate is whether or not the slap was warranted. Chris Rock is a comedian and comedians make jokes. It’s literally what he’s paid to do. But what a lot of people didn’t know, myself included, is that Jada suffers from alopecia. Alopecia is a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles causing hair to fall out in chunks and possible repeated bouts of baldness. Understandably, this is a situation that has been very sensitive for Jada and she’s had a hard time dealing with it. Many believe that this is the reason for the slap and question whether or not Chris knew about Jada’s condition. But whether he knew or not, should Will have slapped Chris on live television during the ceremony?
I don’t think that Will Smith should have slapped Chris Rock in such a fashion. Knowing everything we know now, the joke was tasteless and Will and Jada have every right to feel a certain way about it. But I do feel that Will could have found a different way to handle it or “check” Chris in the moment. If Chris had not been able to keep his composure then these men would have been fighting on stage at the Oscars. What a set back that would have been! So I definitely commend Chris Rock for keeping his composure. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% understand Will’s need to protect his family and the ones he loves, something he described during his acceptance speech for Best Actor after the incident had taken place. I wholeheartedly agree with and appreciate that sentiment. But there is an appropriate and inappropriate way to go about everything.
Denzel Washington summed it up best with the wisdom he gave Will after the slap. “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” Unfortunately I find that many of us realize this after he’s already won. But those experiences often serve as the best life lessons.
What do you think?