Monday, May 16, 2022

Why Will Smith Hit Chris Rock At The Oscars — And What He Said?

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In the final hour of an otherwise sleepy Oscar broadcast came a moment of shock and chaos. You’d be forgiven for missing out between the shaky camera angles and clipped audio, but Will Smith hit Chris Rock on live TV. Minutes later, Smith won his first-ever Oscar.

“I didn’t know these were going to be the most exciting Oscars ever,” Diddy marveled shortly after.

This is what happened.

Chris Rock appeared at the Oscars to announce the winner for Best Documentary. Leading up to the announcement of the nominees, he did a little comedic chatter about some of the nominees, and his attention seemed to dwell on Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who sat in the front in a green dress with a shaved head.

“Jada, I love you,” Rock said. †G.I. Jane 2can’t wait to see it, okay?”

Pinkett’s face turned gritty and Smith stood up, marched onto the stage and punched Rock in the face. The audio from the US broadcast was cut off at the time, but went on uncensored in other countries, including Japan and Australia.

“Wow! Wow!” said Rock, waving slightly as Smith walked back to his seat. “Will Smith just slapped me, everyone.”

“Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth,” Smith shouted from the crowd.

“Wow, dude,” Rock said. “It was a GI Jane joke.”

“Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth,” Smith repeated.

“I’m going to. Okay?” said Rock. He paused as he took a double, and the audio in the US came back just in time to hear him say, “That was the best night in television history. Okay. Okay.” Then he proceeded to present the Oscar (which went to Summer of the souldirected by Questlove).

Just minutes later, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in King Richardin which he played Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith began as he took the stage. “At this time of my life I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”

Smith wept during his speech, which ranged from a defense of his actions to an apology to the Academy to a glorification of Richard Williams.

“I want to apologize to the Academy,” he said. “I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment. And I don’t cry about winning a prize. I don’t care about winning a prize. It’s about being able to shine a light on all people.”

Smith went on to say that he wanted to “elevate” the stories of people like Richard Williams protecting those he loved.

Pinkett Smith has been diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. She went out for the first time with her diagnosis in 2018 on her Facebook Live show Red Table Talk

“It was terrifying when it first started,” she said at the time. “I was in the shower one day and I only had a handful of hair in my hands and I was like, ‘Oh my god, am I going bald?'”

In July 2021, Pinkett Smith shaved her head and said her daughter Willow convinced her “it was time to let go”.

Rock is familiar with the haunted politics surrounding black women’s hair. In 2009 he produced and starred in the documentary Good Hairabout how black women historically thought and styled their hair.

Rock has also previously targeted Pinkett Smith in his Oscars humor. When Rock hosted the Oscars in 2016, it was in the midst of the #OscarsSoWhite protests, and Pinkett Smith was one of many big black celebrities who committed to boycotting the Oscars in protest at their lack of diversity.

‘Jada got angry and said she wasn’t coming. Boycotting Jada the Oscars is like boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited’ rock said

“Art imitates life,” Smith said during his acceptance speech. “I look like the crazy dad, as they said. But love will make you do crazy things.”

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