(Women, please read the question at the very end)
As a black man living in this country I know there is a system that exists that is not built for me. It’s built on top of me, it’s built by me and I am the specimen in the petri dish of this system. My bad moments and erroneous decisions are widely broadcast as the example of all melanated people while my most glorious moments receive shallow fleeting praise as outliers of my races accomplishments.
I watched the clip of the “slap” about a dozen times listening to people say it was a punch. First…no, it wasn’t a punch. It wasn’t “Oscar-worthy” either, because it was real.
Will Smith and his family endured and continue to endure a very public entanglement that they now joke about. They allow enormous freedom with raising very engaging public children. I can’t fathom what other trials they endure and come out of as a very public family. There’s not much that weakens them as a family and I admire that facade that they must maintain.
I believe when Will saw the hurt or bothered look on Jada’s face, Will not “Hitch” or the “Fresh Prince”, or “Agent J” but West Philly, husband of 25 years Will, in a visceral moment, reacted. We can talk and joke about our family and our mistakes but you, Chris Rock, will NOT make a mockery of my wife’s scalp condition. You can do or say what you want about your divorce but you will NOT hurt my wife’s feelings. That…I can’t allow.
I have Will’s book and watched the episode where he and his family talked about the abuse in his family, how he felt helpless as a child. I know that feeling. You grow to be a hyper protective husband and father of everyone in your care. I’m not a psychologist but walking up to that stage, after years decades of being Mr. July and ALWAYS on point professionally, you were compelled to do something to protect your most precious person this time…even if it meant to slap the shit out of another man, 5 years your senior, on national television, at the Oscars.
Will Smith and both Chris Rock exhibited restraint. Even in this very public debacle, they both kept it together. Will kept it together enough not to punch Chris Rock on live tv and Chris Rock, Crown Heights bred comedian kept it together not to respond by swinging on Will. You can even see Chris Rock’s body language in his response…he immediately kept it professional. Will, this was not his best night but I understand…his statements immediately after the slap was bad. I mean when has Will ever not held it together, even when some dude tried to kiss him in the mouth on live tv. Again…the assailant received what, a slap. I’m sorry it happened but I’m still of fan of the Oscar/Grammy winning black man from the neighborhood of West Philly. I’ve watched his trajectory of the years and aligned myself to his drive.
Will and Chris have the resources to endure this altercation. Their credentials may allow a discussion or a “settlement” out of court that may be jokes and hugs…maybe. I don’t know, but what I do know is this…
the system will not allow you, black man, to make that mistake.
Everyday Black folks don’t have the luxury of being in the moment like that without repercussions – we’d be dead or in jail. Will should have addressed Chris after the show. To yell what he said on LIVE tv was inexcusable/unacceptable but this is why…
So this is the second time Chris came for Jada on the Oscars stage…that’s why Will states, “…keep my wife’s name out your f@#king mouth.” To even go further…give me some latitude. Jada boycotted because Will wasn’t nominated for “Concussion” a movie exposing the NFL. The NFL did not want that movie to receive acclaim or notoriety…but maybe it’s a stretch. Like it or not, this is our system…but I digress.
Again, I’m a fan and will continue to be a fan. You, young black man, do not have the luxury of being out of character, you will lose everything in that moment. I just wish it didn’t happen like this but I also think of the alternative.
One question for all you wives that disapprove of Will’s actions at the Oscars…
If a comedian clowned you about your illness and your husband laughed along with everybody else, even after he saw how much it bothered/hurt your feelings…how would you feel about your husband?
I asked a close friend and she said, “Probably not so good. Hurt. Embarrassed. Disrespected. Would definitely question our relationship. It looked like Will reacted to Jada’s reaction.“
Last thing…this America does not protect our black women. We just flogged the overqualified Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson publically. So I’m kinda like, when do we, black men, protect our women, when are we allowed to protect our wives. Yeah this may be different but like I started out saying, this is the system that doesn‘t exist for us, we have to exist in it. I’m sorry it happened that one of my idols was justifiably out of character. I will say last night…Will and Jada had some good love at home. :o)
So…this 51 year old North Philadelphia black man understands.
You welcome to comment below.
2 responses to “Understanding the Will Smith “Oscar-worthy” Slap”
How you doing Brother Smitty I need a melanated rest off this planet. I don’t watch the Oscars but I’ve heard and seen clips. No comment for energy’s sake. Great points overall. But, I’m surprised security didn’t step in. You had me LMAO on this below…keep writing :)!!!
I will say last night…Will and Jada had some good love at home. :o)
So…this 51 year old North Philadelphia black man understands.
Nadhege Ptah Actor, Writer, Producer, Director, Dancer P : 1-800-606-3810 E : Nadhege@NadhegePtah.com W : http://www.NadhegePtah.com W : http://www.maatfilms.net
On Mon, 28 Mar 2022 at 02:19, Middle Passage Mentor wrote:
> middlepassagementor posted: ” (Women, please read the question at the very > end) As a black man living in this country I know there is a system that > exists that is not built for me. It’s built on top of me, it’s built by me > and I am the specimen in the petri dish of this system. My” >
This well written. I did not watch, but when I heard about it and saw all the comments on all social media platforms, I had to hit YouTube to get caught up. I certainly felt the emotion and looked at my wife after viewing it. She knows how I feel about her and how seriously I take my role as a protector. I am a minister of the gospel and like Will said in his comments post incident and winning his Oscar, he is also a man about love and family. With that said, I cannot condemn what he did because Jada is his wife. No matter how public their lives have been, there is just a line you do not cross. Chris Rock is not ignorant and he knows that in 2016 his jokes did not play well then. This is one of those instances where you can enter a bee farm and mingle with the bees. You can do certain things and make certain moves and the bees won’t attack you, but the moment you do something to agitate them you are in trouble.
I find it interesting that there is so much vitriol for Will, but not much for Chris. This is not tit for tat, but an honest analysis of cause and effect. We have learned these things in school. We all understand that if Chris did not make the joke, there would have been no reaction. Since their lives are very public and there have been some very uncomfortable moments, emotional setbacks, and painful realities, as a comedian, I would have steered clear of the Smiths just out of good conscience. There were plenty of other people to mess with in the audience. I am also sure that if he just focused on Will, he would have done the acting laugh and just brushed it off. In fact, this is what he tried to do until he saw that Jada was not laughing at all. Everyone has a breaking point. For us as Black Men (at least I understand), we know how our women have been mistreated, portrayed, and disrespected. As a Black Man, I also am cognizant that I can be disenfranchised for the rest of my life, but I will do everything in my power to open doors for my children and my wife.
There is no condoning of any form a violence whether verbal or physical. Rock’s verbal assault touched on areas that are mostly unseen. Medical conditions are nothing to joke about and it matters not the severity of the condition. You also should be informed about why a person has a certain appearance. Rock has been this business too long and came off as a bully in the cafeteria picking on another kid because they look different. In a world with mental illness is not getting its proper light, people have killed themselves or harmed people over less. The Academy Awards is a global event. This was not a private event. Rock embarrassed Jada on a worldly stage. Let that sink in. What if your most vulnerable part of yourself was exposed on worldly television and the perp just wanted to get everyone to laugh and move on. What is deeply personal to you is not a joke. Now as a protector, I know how that made you feel. You are my everything. I am sworn to you and not anyone else. No matter the consequence, I need to make it right on this same worldly stage. This is how we got the result that we did. Neither one of them can claim to be right and neither one is a victim. The only victim here is Jada. She did nothing to bring this on herself.
Folks are quick to say have thick skin and it was a joke. What Will said is real. You are expected to take the disrespect and the dishonor, but last night, he said no more. And, couple it with the fact that it comes from a person that you already don’t particularly care for.
To close, they both will be forgiven and I know they will hash it out. We as the general public need to let it play out. Our opinions really don’t matter much anyway. The rules have always been different for people in entertainment and sport. Oh by the way, they have money, too. Our outrage is futile because we have already paid the cost to put them both where they are today. So spare me that “they set us back” speech because they have not moved me forward or set me back as an individual. My own character speaks for itself. If I am being compared to another Black Man that does not have the same background, talents, skills, and gifts as I do, then we already know folks like that are ignorant and I don’t want to work with you, for you, break bread with you, or be around folks like that. Instead of labeling me as one of the “Good” Black Men/People, I would love to just be known as a good person. We have all done things that we have regretted. The consequence has been and will be what it needs to be. It does not change our eternal rolls in protecting our family.