On Sunday night, I was sitting on my couch, sulking because I could not watch “The Equalizer.” Suddenly, I saw a feed on my phone that broke the monotony of the day. My husband and I viewed the footage of Philadelphia native Will Smith slapping Chris Rock seemingly over a joke about Jada’s hair. I could not immediately fall asleep that night because I was stirred. I tried to process my own emotions and feelings as a black woman. Initially, I was angry with Chris Rock for degrading Jada on this very special night. I was also embarrassed by the fact that this very personal event was occuring on such a public stage involving two black men. Don’t get me wrong. I am not writing this to judge anyone, but more to examine myself, and my personal reaction. It appears that I was not the only person who had strong feelings about this event.
First, thank you for allowing all of us to witness this experience and to hopefully learn the appropriate lessons. It is never easy to make mistakes in public. One could say that Chris Rock made the mistake of making a joke about something so deeply personal to Jada. We all have a moral responsibility to be conscious of how our words and actions affect other people. Not everyone feels this way. Some people think that free speech comes with a license to hurt others. I later came to understand that jokes were made by the same person at the same event years before about the same individual. I can not and I will not try to judge the condition of Chris Rock’s heart, but I will take away the lesson for myself to always try to think before I speak, and to read the room. I also want to thank Chris for not pressing charges. You may have had people in your ear telling you to do opposite, but you took the high road, I can learn from that.
Thank you Will. I could see the pain on your face that night, no one can know what was going on in your head, but I can only assume that there were multiple emotions. Both you and Jada have been very public about the ups and downs of your marriage. I believe that both of you did this to help others. But something happened on Sunday that took you out of yourself. I agree with Denzel, the devil will accost God’s children when they least expect it, when your biggest blessing is at hand. Will thank you for apologizing to Chris, and letting the world know that redemption is possible. Seeing your sincere apology made me realize that if you can forgive, than I too can forgive. Will, I also want to thank you for something that you said while receiving your Oscar about protecting your people. I was deeply moved by this. You were sincere.
In conclusion, the slap seen around the world has taught me so many lessons. Others too have learned lessons from the situation. Life is not perfect, tidy and clean, stuff happens, but we can all move on from this with humility, a bit smarter and with more love and compassion for each other.