Will Smith is a human with emotions like the rest of us

Will Smith hits Chris Rock across the faces at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about Jada, Wills wife.


Will Smith hits Chris Rock across the faces at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about Jada, Will’s wife.

During the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, regarding her hair. Pinkett Smith has alopecia, a condition that leads to hair loss, and in turn, Smith slapped Rock.

After seeing the slap originally, I thought it was hilarious. People on social media were making memes and I genuinely enjoyed scrolling through Twitter on March 27.

As someone who grew up around Black women, I understand the importance of a Black woman’s hair and how touchy of a subject it can be.

It felt a little distasteful to make fun of a Black woman’s hair in a white-dominated space with few people of color and even fewer Black women. I could see why Smith might be offended.

Nevertheless, Rock told a targeted joke, Smith took offense and acted on that emotion. I thought that was it.

I didn’t feel the need to try to take a deep dive into why I thought he slapped Rock, because besides what is available on the internet, I know absolutely nothing about them.

I grew up watching Smith and Rock. I loved their movies and TV shows, and I would like to think most people do.

I’ve never had a conversation with either of them or even met them. What happens in their day-to-day life doesn’t affect me and vice versa.

So, I didn’t really think anything of it when I saw Smith slap Rock. I just browsed Twitter and laughed as I prepped for the first day of the spring quarter.

I began to see a problem as I continued to scroll. People began to project the situation to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s relationship controversy from the summer of 2020, regarding Jada’s “entanglement” with singer August Alsina.

Jada hosted Will on her Facebook video series, Red Table Talk, to discuss what happened, and soon after, all hell broke loose. The memes that followed were funny, but at the end of the day, what they had going on behind closed doors was none of my business.

Regardless, I couldn’t wrap my head around the connection between this and what happened with Chris Rock because to me, there was no clear indication that the two situations are related in any way.

It seemed like everyone thought Smith acted because Jada gave him a look that indicated she was upset and he slapped Rock after that. People can’t understand that maybe, just maybe, Will acted on his own.

Yes, I do believe that men can have emotions when it’s not completely based around their partner. Especially when it comes to Black men, we are not allowed to express the breadth of profound emotions that our counterparts are permitted to.

There is an unspoken pressure on Black men to stay composed at all times. If they express their emotions at all, they are often seen as weak or inferior. If they are too expressive, they are described as angry and aggressive.

This leads to Black men bottling up their emotions without fully dealing with their issues. Those emotions eventually overflow and it’s not irregular for an outburst to occur.

We often put celebrities like Smith on this high pedestal because we see them as a perfect person. And when these “perfect” people finally make some mistake, people on social media look for any reason to justify their actions.

This might be a crazy idea, but hear me out. Maybe Smith is human. A human with emotions.

Maybe his emotions were amplified in that moment and maybe for just a second, he wasn’t perfect.

Maybe it was built-up anger from the past two years of jokes and criticism. Maybe he and his wife had in-depth conversations about her medical condition, and Rock’s joke made Will want to defend her. Maybe he saw his wife in disgust and acted because of that.

Maybe it has to do with Rock throwing shade at Will and Jada back at the 2016 Oscars and Will was just waiting for Rock to step out of line again.

Maybe it’s a combination of all these things, or it’s none of these things. Only Will Smith knows why he reacted the way he did.

It wasn’t right for Smith to slap Rock. He should’ve stayed composed and handled it in a more cordial fashion.

But he acted on his emotions, as humans do.

Just think about a time you did something hastily because of how you were feeling. Everybody has had that type of moment.

Only difference is there isn’t room for people like Smith to make mistakes because of the spotlight he is in.

It’s a shame that this took away the spotlight from the other award winners, but at the end of the day, it was just a slap.

Nobody died. Nobody was seriously hurt. Nobody is pressing charges. The Academy might dish out some sort of punishment, but I doubt it will be anything extreme.

Smith went on to win Best Actor at the Oscars, and during his acceptance speech, he said something that was very intriguing and insightful to how he was feeling.

“I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse,” he said. “You gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you pretend like that’s ok.”

The next time you go on social media to criticize someone, think about whether or not you even have the right to. Think about whether or not you are informed enough to speak on it. Think about how it could affect them if they saw it.

Try to put yourself in their shoes.