UNITED STATES—It was a dark moment at the 2022 Academy Awards. Look, I watch the Oscars every year, but I will admit I was very close to not watching the 2022 ceremony. Why? I wasn’t really wowed by the movies in 2021, granted we were in a pandemic, and I loved “CODA,” but like many people I know in the cinematic universe, it would not be considered a critical darling when you think of that movie compared to the artsy “The Power of the Dog.”
With that said it was a lot, and I mean a lot of history made at the ceremony. Three women hosted, Arianna DeBose, the first openly LGBTQ woman of color won an acting Oscar, Troy Kotsur became the first Deaf actor to win an Oscar, Jane Campion become the third woman to win a Best Directing Oscar and “CODA” won the Best Picture Oscar. It was an interesting night, but however, it was all overshadowed, by a very and I mean very dark moment televised during the Academy Awards.
I’m referring to that incident between comedian Chris Rock and Best Actor nominee Will Smith. Rock took to the stage to present the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Rock made a few jokes, one of them at Smith’s wife Jada, and her starring in “G.I. Jane 2” because of her bald head. As a result, Jada was not happy; Smith laughed it off before he took to the stage and slapped Rock. Now, as this was transpiring I thought this was an absolute joke or some sort of skit. I couldn’t really tell if that slap actually transpired or not. However, as the night continued it was apparent, Will did assault Rock and when Will shouted TWICE including an expletive at Rock it was apparent that what many thought to be a stunt was very real people.
Members in the audience were stunned, I mean the look on Lupita N’yongo’s face said it all people. Then we learned Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry spoke to Will after the incident. It was later confirmed during Will’s acceptance speech, he knew he did wrong, as he didn’t apologize to Chris Rock. That was absolutely wrong and we will discuss more shortly. However, he quoted something Denzel said to him about the Devil tempting you during your highest point/proudest time.
Will was teary eyed, and for a moment you felt he had remorse for his actions. However, you don’t do that Will Smith. I’m sorry, this was a huge moment for you and you were the front-runner to win the prize for Best Actor, it was to be a jubilant time for you, but that has all been overshadowed by this incident. This is all EVERYONE has been talking about this week. Granted the joke delivered by Rock was tasteless considering Will’s wife, Jada is suffering from alopecia that causes hair loss. Even if Will was defending his wife as so many people have argued, you slapped someone on live TV, went back to your seat and remained at the ceremony as if everything was ok.
No America, it was NOT. You could tell the tone at the ceremony shifted greatly, and I’m stunned the Academy didn’t remove Will from the ceremony. Questlove just won an Oscar and his moment was completely taken from him America. You know people were whispering about what transpired. Will, who later took the stage after winning the Best Actor Oscar for “King Richard” sort of addressed the issued, but really didn’t. I mean he absolutely should have apologized to Chris Rock in that speech, not 24 hours later after it was all people could talk about. That guy had a ton of composure to just sit there take a slap and do nothing. I don’t know many guys, let alone many Black men who would allow such a thing to transpire without reacting. That takes a ton of restraint people.
Social media abuzz with the incident; everyone I talked to all they could talk about was the Oscars and not for the people who won, but that particular incident. Images showed Will partying at the Vanity Fair shindig celebrating his victory, but the question that lingered was rather Rock would press charges. As of now, he has decided not to do so, but that could change. Will is lucky because I think if that was anyone else, he’d be locked up and in jail right now and there would be no questions asked people. However, this is Hollywood and I guess there are certain things you can get away with, an everyday American or citizen, not so much. The world has weighed in on the slap, many condemning Smith and his actions, others praising the actor for defending his wife as they say. I don’t care about people’s opinions, simply put Will Smith assaulted someone and it was wrong, PERIOD!
Yeah, he might be dealing with something, but that does not give you the right to do what transpired, plain and simple and there are going to be repercussions on Smith’s career in the coming weeks, months or years. The perception that he had with the American people has completely changed.
Smith was indeed feeling the pressure and issued an apology to Chris Rock via his Instagram page. Sorry Will that does not cut it, you need to have a face-to-face with Chris Rock and deliver that apology, doing it via social media platforms is NOT the way. The sad thing about this situation is Will Smith will not be remembered in 2022 for winning the Best Actor Oscar, he will be remembered for slapping comedian Chris Rick. Tell me is that the legacy you want to be known for? I know I wouldn’t.
Written By Jason Jones