In West Philadelphia, born and raised. If you watch the show Abbott Elementary then you have been introduced to a modern-day, school days version of the man who is Willard Smith. They don’t take any shit! He is also an Academy Award winner after Sunday’s ceremony for his portrayal of the real-life father to Tennis champions, Venus and Serena Williams, in the film King Richard. I watched Will’s YouTube show which is a documentary-styled short that gives us both an emotional and psychological introspect into who he is when he isn’t in character. One of his shrinks, Dr. Ramani has been featured in a few episodes. In her pursuit to help Will unpack emotional trauma on the screen, we have seen her be a vigilant light around his triggers. He loves his family. He was raised in an abusive household ruled by his father. He is famous for motivational clips explaining the brick by brick method installed on him during childhood. His very public long-standing relationship with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith has been the main interest in his personal life, oh and maybe Scientology, like is the one is he, not one? We don’t care. He slapped Chris Rock during the telecast before winning his category after Rock made a joke at Jada’s expense. Producers of the show have claimed that the line was unscripted. Rock taunted the bald head Jada now sports due to hair loss side effects of the disease Alopecia saying the actress would be great in GI Jane 2. In the first GI Jane, played by actress Demi Moore, the character tries to disguise herself as a male soldier and Demi agreed to shave off her real hair for the role. It was as many said, an innocent joke about a movie at an event about movies.
Smith’s attack slap against Chris was not innocent, however. Viewers of the in-person telecast all looked confused as the cameras struggled to find somewhere to focus. We see you Lupita, good job girl! But many thought it could be a part of it or something done to spark an “entertainment factor” but quickly as the memes hit the internet, folks at the show felt uneasy. Was this another Kanye/Taylor moment? But wait, where is the security? The reason folks thought it was planned was due to how easy it was for Will to leave his front stage seat, mosey on up to the stage and walk up to Chris. Were the producers on a lunch break? What if it was a female presenter who made the joke? Since when do we allow people to fight at awards? Is it the Source awards again? Social media went to town with this one with commentators from all walks of this situation chiming in. Many defended Will’s protection of his wife, #protectblackwomen, many exclaimed that watching it triggered their own domestic violence issues #ptsd is real, and many who are not fans of the Academy, to begin with, believed both Will and Chris were set up for failing views. As a criminal justice advocate, my concern is that a crime took place and nothing was done. It happened on American television and the entire world is watching so we just told the World, when you’re powerful and a Hollywood celeb, the rules don’t apply. We have an issue with our entertainers operating in grandiose capacities. Will Smith is not an example to follow, but Chris Rock is. Many said they wouldn’t or couldn’t have kept their composure the way Chris continued with his segment but he is a class act. He also is going on tour with Kevin Hart this Summer so check it out in your city and give Chris his flowers, as we should.