Will’s Slap Should Rock Us All

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My first thought of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock across the face Sunday night was disbelief. I thought the same thing when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs back in 2009, or when Steve Harvey fumbled the winner of Miss Universe in 2015. It’s TV; a lot of crazy stuff happens on television but not all of it is true. Then Will’s “gangsta” strut back to his seat followed by his glaring look made me think otherwise. Will Smith had reprised his role as Mike Lowery from the movie Bad Boys. “Keep my wife’s name OUT of your “F**KING MOUTH!” The unedited clip made its way around the world faster than we received our vaccinations for COVID-19.

Today, the whole world is debating that slap. The question being: where do we draw the line when it comes to someone disrespecting our loved ones? When is a joke not a joke? Will Smith’s slap will likely end up in 2022’s list of unforgettable moments. I’m sure it’s a moment the two film icons wish they could have back. Meanwhile, the world of social media has become a firestorm of memes that continue to mock and condemn the incident.

Nobody won last Sunday night. Chris Rock failed to show empathy for persons suffering from alopecia. Will Smith failed to control his anger, and social media (as always) failed by pouring gasoline on a fire that should’ve never got started in the first place. Today, we’re talking more about an altercation between two celebrities than we are about Tyre Sampson, the kid who recently lost his life in Orlando after falling to his death — why aren’t we talking about that?

I don’t want to hear any nonsense that Will Smith and Chris Rock are celebrities — they should know better. B.S. Will Smith and Chris Rock are people just like us with bad judgment, emotions and flailing tempers. Remember, it was just last year when Jada told Will live on television about her “entanglement” with August Alsina. There was news coverage with memes and TikTok dances over their infidelity. Could it have been that Jada’s Red Table Talk segment fueled the slap which was heard around the world? “Oh, but they chose to air their dirty laundry,” you might say. “That’s on them. It comes with the territory!” I disagree. I think these vulnerable moments that our beloved celebrities give to us should be used as teachable moments for us all. It’s a reminder that neither of us are perfect.

Last Sunday, we all got slapped. Will slapped himself when he slapped Chris Rock. Right now, he’s being slapped in the court of public opinion as just another angry Black man in Hollywood with too much money and power. For those praising the slap, I’m afraid that Sunday’s incident sets the standard that this kind of behavior is okay; it’s not. Meanwhile, Chris Rock is being slapped again as being insensitive to persons suffering from Alopecia. He meant it as a joke, but it was poor judgment on his part — we’ve all been there. Lastly, people are slapping each other on social media and all across the world over what they saw. I’m sure I’ll get slapped too for writing this. That’s what we do to each other. If we’re not making fun of your imperfections, don’t worry, we’ll just slap the shit out of you. How’s that?



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Nathan Jarelle

Nathan Jarelle

Nathan Jarelle is an author, poet & blogger from the Nation’s Capital. Subscribe to his blog or visit his website at natejayreads.com to learn more about him.