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Will Smith vs Chris Rock

As I’m sure most of us are aware, there was an incident at the 2022 Oscars between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock. Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face.

Most of the internet has been divided, some siding with Will Smith, some siding with Chris Rock. Then there are those who are either not picking a side or just enjoying the countless memes that have been created about the situation. I am one of the people who isn’t siding with anyone, but I do have some thoughts about what happened. This is definitely a complicated and complex issue.

I feel as though Will Smith had some pent up emotions. There was a shot of him laughing at the joke that Chris Rock made, then suddenly he was extremely upset and did what he did. He might have been under a lot of stress as he was a nominee that night, and there is already a lot of drama surrounding his relationship with Jada.  

Chris’s joke also calls into question what is okay for a comedian to joke about. Should some things just be off limits? Where is the line between humor and being respectful to each other? Either way, I do think Chris Rock handled being slapped in the face quite professionally, not physically retaliating, just verbally reacting. Apparently he is not even pressing charges. While Rock may not have meant any harm with what he said, I can relate to being the butt of a joke. You don’t always want to show that it bothers you, but at the same time, there’s only so much a human can take.  

Even though I am not picking a side, I will say that I don’t fully agree with reacting to something like that with violence, especially as a black male. I just feel like it proves what racist people think of us; that we are violent. I have already seen some racists come out with their opinions on social media. While it shouldn’t matter what racists think, unfortunately we live in a country where there is systemic racism. For that reason, our actions are under a microscope. When we do not support each other it is magnified. For example, even though Chris Rock hosted the Oscars and Will Smith won one that night, the media are focused on the slap.  

What are your thoughts about this? Are you taking a side?