After the slap, Will Smith has a long road back

Andronakis Clay, Staff Writer

In an audience full of millions of people both virtually and physically, there are only so many ways to present yourself.  It’s only natural to feel nervous at such a monumental event, especially the Oscars. But actor and icon for many, Will Smith, feels no such anxiety. In fact, when offended at the slightest joke, he has the gaul to smack Comedian Chris Rock on stage and yell profanities at him. The most interesting part was the joke wasn’t even directed at him, but more towards someone who … you wouldn’t think he’d be so angry over. But let’s start from the beginning of the shocking Smack Heard Around the World. 

“Gi Jane 2, can’t wait to see it!” The words started a fire that Chis Rock didn’t even know he lit initially. GI Jane is a female heroine from a 1997 film. Chris was making this comment towards Will’s wife because she has the same hair style as she once did. Mostly bald with stubble on top. Now, this isn’t a choice however. Jada Pinkett suffers from Alopecia which results in severe hair loss. So this joke could have been offensive to her or her loved ones. But not to Will. Not right away at least. From the start you can see Will laughing at the joke, enjoying himself at the award ceremony. But as the camera cuts, something changes. All of a sudden you can see Will walking up to Chris.

Of course professionally, Chris thought nothing of it. Maybe Will was trying to do an unprecedented skit, or wanted to say something personally. If only that were the case, instead a swift smack came across Chris’s face. Will walked away as if he had cured cancer, proud with his head high. Chris in disbelief, questioned the severity of the joke. But when getting shut down by Will’s repetitive aggressiveness, he dismisses with finesse and moves on. 

What are the chances that Chris knew that Jada had alopecia? And if he did, what does it matter? To be honest Jada is known for more, illusive and scandalous actions so Chris not knowing why there simply isn’t hair on her head isn’t the most unbelievable thing in the world. But even worse, Will won an Oscar after that. After completely humiliating himself and losing his composure over a harmless joke, he won something that people try their hardest to achieve their entire lives.

I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, but he should have received it later on. Maybe after Chris’s face wasn’t hot from the smack, or at least until he recognized the mistake of his actions. But he did proceed to apologize. Saying, “I know, to do what we do, we’ve gotta be able to take abuse. You’ve gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve gotta be able to have people disrespecting you.” The irony of his words reached not only the crowd, but all the people who organized and watched the Oscars. Finally after embarrassing Chris, himself, and the entire academy, he accepted the oscar graciously. 

Marriage is not something that is to be taken lightly, that is true for everyone. The problem was even if the joke was a direct jab at Will’s relationship with Jada, it still wouldn’t have been the right course of action. In life the act of violence is not acceptable just because someone said something you didn’t like. Even if one disagrees, violence in such a professional situation like the Oscars, seems irredeemable. And even Will Smith has been facing the repercussions of that. Even after resigning from the academy, he has been facing internet slander and has been banned from attending for 10 years. Will is more than capable of learning and growing from the mistakes of his actions, and if he hasn’t already, let’s hope it is sooner than later.