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“I ain’t saying he should’ve killed her—but I understand!” – Chris Rock in Bring The Pain (1996).

Of course, Rock was talking about O.J. Simpson “allegedly” killing his wife, so obviously, there’s no comparing that situation to Will Smith going full “West Philadelphia, born and raised” on Rock’s face during Sunday night’s Oscars 2022 ceremony. Although, it would have been damn hilarious if instead of smacking him, Will ran up on stage and shook the sh** out of Chris.

Now, when it comes to the subject of Chris getting Rocked in his face, I’m pretty indifferent about the rights and wrongs of it. Maybe Smith shouldn’t have rocked his Bel-Airs. Maybe it wasn’t the time for Will to start giving us his best Ali performance to date. But “talk sh**, get hit” is very much a thing in this here Black community and Will has long made it clear that, entanglements be damned, he does not play about his wife.

And Rock’s joke was bad. Even if it wasn’t tasteless, it would have been sale and unfunny. I mean, G.I. Jane, my guy? If you’re going to let yourself get Suge Knighted in front of a live audience, don’t let it be over a dated reference like that.

Anyway, some have suggested that maybe Rock didn’t know about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia condition. Sure, she announced it to the world via Instagram, but maybe Rock isn’t one of those celebrities that follows celebrities like that. If he knew about it, there would be no doubt that he would have deserved Will making his cheek match the color of a Red Table Talk, but maybe he didn’t know. However, he knows the relationship between Black women and their hair (he did a whole documentary about it). And he should have known that when a Black woman who has always had hair is suddenly bald and he doesn’t know why—maybe keep the jokes about it in the drafts, bro. 

Plus, let’s be real—Will has probably about had it with all the jokes and negativity surrounding his family and his marriage. Rock’s not-so-wise crack may have just been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Again, I’m not invested in the debate about whether Smith was in the wrong because n***** catch hands for saying the wrong thing every day, B—but how would you have reacted if a close family member had a condition and someone, who may or may not have known, made a joke about how they looked due to said condition?

If it was some random Republican making a smart remark about Rep. Ayanna Pressley and her alopecia, most of us would have been OK about them catching the fade. (Speaking of which, it turns out Pressley tweeted then deleted a post praising Smith for what he did.)

Either way, the fine folks on Twitter appear to be pretty split on whether the slap heard around the world was justified.

Some people pointed out that while Jada’s face made it clear she wasn’t here for Rock’s joke, Will was laughing at it himself at first.

Now, there are a number of reasons Will could have been laughing. It could have been residual laughter from Rock’s last joke. He might not have heard clearly what Rock said and was just laughing to be polite. Maybe it was nervous laughter.

Or maybe he saw his wife’s reaction and knew he had to get right real quick and do something in favor of her honor.

Maybe he overreacted, maybe he didn’t. People are going to feel however they’re going to feel about that.

Me? I’m just here for the jokes and memes.

I will say this though: A few people have pointed out that if Chris Rock was The Rock, Will would have stayed in his seat.

I mean, anybody can square up on a skinny 57-year-old Chris Rock. But Will would’ve just had to be satisfied with having mind control over Debo.

So how do y’all feel about it? Team Will or Team Chris?

Boston, MA - Comedian/actor Chris Rock, right, chats with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith at Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on Monday, May 21, 2012. Staff Photo by Matthew West.

Source: MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Getty


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