Will Smith must be banned

Instead of celebrating black stars, Smith made the entire event about himself and his wife.


As the Russian invasion on Ukraine took a backseat this week, we were all bombarded with the shocking news that the much-loved actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars. Yes, we all got tired of the news and, as per usual, social media protocol, memes and jokes started circulating, while many debated whether the actions by Smith were warranted. To be honest, when Rock compared Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith to the GI Jane movie, it flew over my head. I had never watched the 1997 film, which starred Demi Moore. Looking at the synopsis, the film…

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As the Russian invasion on Ukraine took a backseat this week, we were all bombarded with the shocking news that the much-loved actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Yes, we all got tired of the news and, as per usual, social media protocol, memes and jokes started circulating, while many debated whether the actions by Smith were warranted.

To be honest, when Rock compared Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith to the GI Jane movie, it flew over my head. I had never watched the 1997 film, which starred Demi Moore.

Looking at the synopsis, the film is about a female lieutenant who is given an opportunity to train and earn her place in the Navy Seals while refusing to bow down to the pressure or expectations of failure as a woman. As a determined woman, GI Jane eventually got the respect she deserved from her male peers.

In hindsight, it is quite an empowering movie for women, particularly in the current age where women are fighting for equality and spaces in male-dominated industries.

ALSO READ: Was Will Smith trying to impress Jada or driven by Tupac jealousy?

But Smith didn’t like that. Well, in fact, he laughed at the unforgettable joke as we saw his wife lean back, seemingly unimpressed by the jab at her hair loss due to her diagnosis of autoimmune disease alopecia.

And while Smith repeatedly yelled out at Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his “f***ing” mouth, news emerged that this was not the first time that Rock had thrown comedic jabs at the couple at the annual awards.

In 2016, the Smiths, including film-maker Spike Lee, boycotted the Oscars because of their frustration that black people were not represented and most nominees were white.

Back then, in his opening monologue, Rock joked and said that perhaps they were just not invited. “Jada is mad. Her man Will is not nominated for the movie Concussion. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West,” Rock joked.

Fast forward to 2022, black actors and entertainers were finally recognised. Long-time actor Samuel L Jackson won his first lifetime achievement award at the Oscars, which was gracefully handed to him by another black Oscar winner, Denzel Washington.

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Smith himself finally won his first Oscar as best actor for portraying Richard Williams, the father of tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams in the film King Richard.

Finally, black people were recognised. Something which the Smiths had wanted. But Smith and his wife, however, clouded these accolades and achievements by choosing to take offence to the brief joke.

While the Smiths had five years ago stood up against black people failing to make the list of nominees, I’m of the strong belief and frustrated that Smith made black people look bad that night. By walking up to Rock, another black man, live on stage and throwing a hard slap across his face validated the stereotype that black men are violent.

And instead of celebrating and applauding the black stars who were finally recognised and acknowledged, Smith made the entire event about himself and his wife.

The Oscars should ban him. He ruined a beautiful evening with unnecessary violence over a joke.

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