Updated: Oct 29, 2022
On Sunday, March 27, 2022, no one could have imagined that two of the biggest stars in Hollywood would be on a collision course that would reverberate around the world—that they would be at the center of an incident so unexpected and shocking that it would become headline news around the globe, upstaging the war between Russia and Ukraine and Covid and all of its variants. And yes, I’m talking about the slap heard around the world.
I remember being at home scrolling through TikTok when I came upon a post about the Oscars. I could clearly see Chris Rock on stage telling a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s short haircut. I took a moment to listen, observing the audience’s reaction. I saw Will laugh along with everyone else. Then the camera panned to Jada and she was not amused. Will took a gander at his wife’s face then commenced to walk onto the stage. I watched, amused at what I thought was a staged reaction, no pun intended. Then my jaw dropped when he hauled off and hit Chris. Still believing this was all a part of the show, I giggled uncomfortably. When Will spewed expletives after returning to his seat, I realized I’d just witnessed history. I sat there with my mouth agape, wondering what had just happened along with the sixteen million other people who had witnessed the slap, and like many people, I had mixed emotions.
Apparently, Will was defending his wife’s honor, and on the other hand, Chris was doing his job as a comedian. He was telling a joke, that initially, Will found funny. But something happened when Will saw Jada’s reaction. Only he and God knows what he felt in that moment—what he may have seen in her eyes—pain or humiliation or even hurt. After all, Will laughed too. Maybe in that split second, he felt enormous disappointment for laughing, maybe in that moment, he was disappointed in himself and if he could have slapped himself he would have. Then he turned toward the stage and saw the origin of the joke—Chris. And without thinking, he struck out. Who knows what he was thinking.
Then there’s Chris, standing there watching Will storm onto the stage. At 5’10, approximately 168 pounds, he’s clearly at a disadvantage, with Will being 6’2, weighing approximately 180 pounds. I wondered to myself what he thought Will was going to do. I doubt he ever imagined that Will would slug him. Then bam! There it was. I’m sure it stung Chris’s face and his ego. Wow! Wow! What just happened? Perhaps Chris thought it was a joke too, a joke that no one had let him in on. But once Will sat down and screamed, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f-ing mouth," Chris, like the rest of us, knew it was real. I can imagine all the emotions that swept through Chris’s body. Anger, fear, confusion, rage. But even so, he handled himself with grace. He didn’t react. He didn’t resort to street fighting. He didn’t even curse at Will. He demonstrated miraculous decorum and restraint.
Now the question is, what will be the eventual outcome? Will we get to witness these two reconcile on the world stage? I just hope that each of them and Jada come to terms with what happen and go in deep and deal with their feelings and try to learn from this incident. I hope we all can learn from what happened. When it comes to being non-reactive, I can definitely take a page out of Chris’s playbook. And when it comes to what not to do, Will has taught me plenty.
There is a war raging on the other side of the globe. I pray for peace there and here. Whether the war is between two entertainment icons, or two countries, the outcome is the same. People suffer. Let each of us do our part to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Peace and blessings to you all.