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On March 27th, 2022 we were witness to the fall of a role model. Willard Carroll Smith II who goes by his Musical name, “Will Smith” slapped and then verbally threatened fellow Actor and Comedian Chris Rock. This took place on live Television at the 94th Annual Academy awards which took place in Los Angeles, California.

Chris Rock is a comedian known for the “heckle the crowd” type of comedy. He looks around at the people in the crowd and makes his monologue from what people are doing, how they look and what he knows about them. The academy awards is full of celebrities and makes this very easy to do. Chris Rock looks at Jada Pinkett-Smith makes a joke. “Jada, I can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2!” Will Smith is still laughing from the previous joke. Jada Pinkett-Smith is a fellow actor and the wife of Will Smith. She is clearly bothered by his comment. After the comment Chris Rock says, “I was being nice . . .“ in response to some comment that we cannot here and the mixed reaction from the crowd. The camera focuses in on Will Smith as he comes to the stage, walks up to Chris Rock and smacks him across the face. Chris Rock handles the moment like a gentleman and a professional comedian. Will Smith goes back to his seat and screams out twice, “. . . Keep my wife’s name out yo fucking mouth! . . .” Chris Rock turns the situation into a joke and keeps on with his portion of the show.

This moment was view on air and live before the world view Television and the internet for the global audience to see. We know that Will resigned from the Academy the week after. Chris Rock as of today did not sue Will Smith or his estate.

As African American’s, Black people are used and manipulated in order to keep up a status quo. What is being expressed by this event? If African Americans get angry we can lash out. If they have enough clout the system does not affect them as Will Smith was not removed by security. If they have clout and do good things in the past they are allowed to carry on get away with a bad moment. These are all false subliminal messages to receive and gives false sense of how things work. First Will Smith assaulted another Black man and fellow actor. That was wrong. Being rich and famous and already understanding that Chris Rock is a comedian means that Jada Pinkett-Smith was not in danger of further ridicule at the show or after the show. Her reputation was not on the line, nor the Smith Family reputation. Will Smith reacted and conducted himself badly. The world saw a very old stereotype that has been place upon black people. That stereotype is that even though we work and improve ourselves at some point we cannot control ourselves and react emotionally. Even when we have success and status. Thus no respect is given to the poor man, the struggling man when has an emotion outburst. It just looks like something we do for clout. His resignation is a weak attempt to compose the situation. He needs to apologize to Chris Rock publicly.



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