Will He? Won’t He?

What did Will Smith do one day?

Modified using a photo by Photo by aniestla on Unsplash

Drama in real life

I woke up this morning to the shocking news that Will Smith had slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.

My first thought? What the heck?!!! Staged!

My first action? Googling to know more.

As it turns out, Will Smith did slap Chris Rock, and it wasn’t staged.

My next reaction?

Oh my God! No! Not Will Smith!

Will Smith is one of the few stars I really admire. Why? I don’t know!!! I’ve loved him since his young days as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I loved him as the smart, dark-glassed partner in Men In Black. I think he is very handsome! I’ve thought of him as human, simple, down-to-earth. Very few stars give me that kind of vibe. The other is Tom Hanks. I am not sure where all these feelings come from. I am no stalker. I have no clue about his life or wife. I’ve barely watched 3–4 of his movies. And yet…

Yet, when I heard the news this morning, I had a moment of deep sadness. Had he actually slapped someone? In public? I felt as if an image of Will Smith I had crafted for myself over the years had fallen down and shattered.

Was I being harsh? I am not sure why we place so much faith and expectation in people we know nothing about. I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure on such famous people. So many expectations riding on their shoulders. But they are human too.

Further digging and reading revealed that Chris Rock had cracked a joke at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith, Will’s wife. Did that merit a public slap at the Oscars? Or anywhere else for that matter? Should Will Smith have counted to 10? Did he?

Jada Pinkett Smith suffers from an autoimmune disease called alopecia. That is the cause of her hair fall, and therefore the bald look. A joke about something like that could be construed as being in very poor taste. On a good day, it might elicit a laugh and everyone would have moved on.

This was clearly not a good day. For anyone.

The pro folk: He was under pressure, it being the Oscars and all. He knows that Jada is sensitive about her hair loss. It was too much of a public forum for such a poor joke. Celebrity life is not easy.

The anti folk: Will should have reigned in his temper. He could have objected verbally. Violence is never the answer. He should be on model behavior at all times.

Right now, I just feel sorry he did what he did. I feel sorry for Jada, for Chris Rock, for all the viewers of the prestigious Oscars, and for everyone else who believed in him. Mostly, I feel really sorry for him.

Overall though, so many questions and so few answers. Is verbal violation ok, but physical violation is not? What is the tipping point for roasting others in comedy? Why did so many others (including Will Smith) laugh when Chris made the comment about Jada?

Will Smith’s acceptance speech was amazing. He did good. He said all the right things, and the speech felt straight from the heart. Made me add more reasons to my list of ‘why I like Will Smith.’

Does this ‘episode’ make me like Will Smith less though? I don’t know. At this moment, I am just left wondering what the heck just happened??!! As more information, misinformation, and opinions come along on media, my thoughts will shape themselves accordingly.

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