Will Smith delivered the smack heard around the world at yesterday’s Academy Awards Ceremony. It was so polarizing in fact, that it completely overshadowed his Best Actor win for the Richard Williams biopic King Richard. Several people have chimed in already on the insane on-air incident, and the collective internet seems torn on what they saw. Was Will in the right for attacking Chris Rock on stage to defend his wife’s honor, or was he normalizing violence on national television?
This year’s Oscars was produced by another Will, Will Packer. Packer is the producer behind such films as Think Like a Man, Obsessed, Ride Along, About Last Night, Girls Trip, and Night School. Over on his Twitter, Packer tried to make light of the violent display, saying, “Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars.” Some of his followers did not think this was a good response and told him in the comments, “Making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn’t the congratulatory message you think it is.”
Lil Nas X took to Twitter to deliver his signature wit making fun of a response from Dr. Emily Porter. Porter believed if Will had done this to an older woman, maybe someone like Betty White, he could have possibly caused her some irreversible bodily harm. Many did not understand the point of this comparison and mocked Dr. Porter. Nas took it to the next level by rephrasing her post to make it about Harriet Tubman. Fans seemed to join him in finding it funny, resharing reimagined pictures of the slap to feature Will and Chris’s animated characters from past films like Shark Tale and Madagascar. “Just a reminder that if Will Smith had built a time machine and went back in time and slapped Harriet Tubman as a baby for a joke she made (however insensitive), she easily could’ve fallen backward, cracked her skull, and never freed slaves. Violence is NEVER okay,” Nas said in his Tweet.
Sports television journalist Stephen A. Smith was not impressed by the display and had some strong opinions on Will’s actions. He called it “shameful” and “disappointing.” While he agreed that Will deserved his Oscar and did a great job in King Richard, he hates how much the slap overshadows it. Stephen thinks there was no excuse for this and that Will should have shown more restraint. Some felt that Will Smith doing this on the Oscars and the disapproval of many speaks to underlined fear in the black community of “embarrassing ourselves in from of white people.”
Shannon Sharpe also had some strong words for Smith claiming he would have come out that tuxedo and whooped him “He would’ve had to whoop me or I would’ve had to whoop him and every time I see him it’s on site.” Sharpe says he was watching the Academy award winner at the Vanity Fair party and he was carrying on like nothing ever happened. He also called him out for apologizing to the academy and not Chris Rock.
R&B singer Mario believes we are all getting “punk’d” and does not understand the reasoning. In a series of IG stories, Mario asks is this the “reason we spent two years in lockdown?” He goes on to call America a “circus” and wonders why they would use two beloved black actors to create such a silly viral moment. He then shared an image of Will Smith’s post slap with Chris Rock still in frame, saying “brotherly love.”
Nicki Minaj expressed her love for both the Smiths and Chris Rock. She believes that someone kept Rock in the dark about Jada’s alopecia and hopes that if had he known, he would not have made the joke in the first place. She also bigged up Will Smith for standing up for his wife. Nicki, who is newly married, seemed to speak from a place of experience and understands the pain in a husband’s eyes when his wife has just been hurt or offended. She sympathized with Jada for her very public struggle with hair loss and how this must effect her daily.
Lil Boosie chimed in, too, saying that this is why he does not make fun of people’s wives. Boosie felt this slap was a result of years of people teasing Will and Jada about their family and some of the things they’ve shared with the public via Red Table Talk, including Jada’s relationship with August Alsina.
Tiffany Haddish took the display to heart and spoke to Variety from the perspective of a woman who has felt “unprotected” by the men in her life. Haddish says she feels more men should stand up for their women, especially men of black women who are historically mistreated by the media. She said it “meant the world” to her to see a man stand up for his wife so publicly.
Jake Paul seems to think this can only be settled in the boxing ring and offered the two Hollywood titans $15 million each to face off in August. He publicly asked his Twitter followers to help connect him to Will Smith and Chris Rock people. While some are excited about the idea, others do not think more fighting is the answer.