“Now this is the story all about how my life got flip-turned upside-down, and I’d like to take a minute just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the…” We all know the rest of the catchy, iconic theme song of the 90s sensation, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What a foreshadowing of eventual future events. One could honestly argue that those lyrics took on a different meaning during the film industry’s most celebrated night of March 2022. Certainly, not a prince anymore.
Get my wife’s name out your f*ckin’ mouth!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjEoDypUD8
What could have been actor Will Smith’s defining evening turned out to be his worst. Known as the “Slap Seen Around the World,” the incident has left us sickened and disgusted by his display of unhinged violence. Look, I have nothing against Will Smith. He has a stellar knack for acting and always displays a likable, comedic personality; that is, until this year’s Oscars when his world was rocked and literally turned upside down – all of his own volition.
In addition to the ongoing shock and disbelief, the unfathomable incident that took place between Smith and comedic icon Chris Rock has left us wanting answers. On the surface, it seemed as though King Richard’s leading man was defending his wife from a perceived attack on her medical condition. Later, Rock admitted that he wasn’t aware of her alopecia. Many individuals are not shy of pointing out that Smith’s actions stemmed from something deeper; perhaps, a slew of unresolved issues brewing deep within his subconscious.
I don’t believe his behavior was the direct result of his wife’s hair condition. Initially, you can see the A-lister laughing along with the rest of the audience. Beneath that humor was anger rising to the surface. Then, in an awkward twist of events, you see him walking up to greet Rock on stage, and what happened next initiated a shockwave around the globe. Cue in Nicole Kidman’s reaction, which is hilariously becoming a meme. Chris Rock displayed nothing but pure professionalism and restraint at a time when he could have chosen not to. Those actions alone demonstrate the type of individual he is. He held his head high amidst feeling broken and demeaned by one of his peers.
We should take the high road here and not take sides. We need to treat both fellow men as equals, in the sense that they’re both human beings with emotions and flaws. In no way does this condone Smith’s behavior. Every single living person on this planet has imperfections that cause the wrong decisions to be made. To err is to be human. Properly atoning for our misdoings is what allows us to rise above the defects that challenge us.
Denzel Washington’s Salient Advice
Hollywood legend Denzel Washington left us salient advice when he said, “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” He was referring to the ego and how it can sabotage us when we’re at our best and eclipse our true selves. What was it that caused Smith to lose restraint and let his inner demons reign supreme? I’m not sure we’ll ever know; in fact, I’m not sure if the 2022 Best Actor recipient will ever know.
Sure, Will Smith won the Best Actor Oscar Award for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father to tennis prodigies, Serena and Venus Williams. Indeed, he was deserving of the motion picture accolade for his acting alone. He should have been escorted out of the facility for his maddened display of sheer bullying and violence. Not under any circumstances should anyone hit, punch or smack someone for saying words.
Jim Carrey Weighs in
Comedy aficionado Jim Carrey eloquently alluded to this by saying, “I was sickened. I was sickened by the standing ovation. I felt like Hollywood is just spineless en masse. And it really felt like this is a really clear indication that we’re not the cool club anymore.” He went on to further reiterate, “I’d have announced this morning that I was suing Will for 200 million dollars, because that video is going to be there forever. It’s going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time. If you want to yell from the audience or disapprove or show disapproval, or say something on Twitter or whatever…you do not have the right to walk up on stage and smack somebody in the face because they said words.”
A Display of Hypocrisy?
An unscripted exhibition of hypocrisy occurred just moments after Chris Rock was attacked in front of millions of people. After Smith accepted his award, those in the audience of course, gave him a standing ovation. Maybe some individuals didn’t want to but consented to it out of peer pressure. Many feel that the Men in Black star’s acceptance speech was riddled with insincerities when he stated, “Love will make you do crazy things. In this time in my life, at this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.” He goes on to say, “Richard was a fierce defender of his family.” With this statement alone, it’s evident that Smith was maybe acting out his character’s traits in real life. In other words, at that moment when he slapped Rock in the face, maybe he couldn’t differentiate between himself and his character.
Society looks up to those in the public eye and often places them on unneeded pedestals. There’s this false ideal regarding celebrities; that by living the high life, they’re not subjected to the same challenges and problems as the rest of us. The incident between Rock and Smith crushed that archetype and brought the truth to the surface – that the stars of Hollywood are just as human as anyone else in this world. They breathe the same air and eat the same food. They endure joy, anger, sadness and dejection. They are subjected to the consequences of their actions. What we saw occur during this event shattered the fallacy that everything in Hollywood is picture-perfect. Quite the contrary.
There’s that old saying, “Still waters run deep.” Will Smith has some profound, inner reflecting to do. He needs to look within to seek the pain that ebbs deep inside. Only then will he find some peace. Anger is a fleeting emotion, one that recedes with the tincture of time. Sure, the world is feeling quite dismayed as a result of Smith’s aggression. He needs to embrace whatever penalties come his way. However, as a human being, he deserves prayers as opposed to being ostracized.
Chris Rock will bounce back from the embarrassment and humiliation. He’s already validating this by fulfilling his comedy performances. His friends, family, and colleagues are rallying around him offering lots of support. Society needs to uplift him and pray for his well-being after such a traumatic event.
Let this entire experience be a reminder of the importance of compassion, love and respect – not just for one’s self but for fellow man and the world at large. Collectively embracing these three attributes will undoubtedly dry the tears of the world.
Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times