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Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock: My Take

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022

"At your highest moments be careful. That's when the devil comes for you." Those were the wise words of Denzel Washington about that slap. You know, when the rotation of our Earth paused, just for a second – and paused even longer for us Black women watching the Academy Awards in 2022.  

This was a moment, when one Black man took it upon himself to ridicule a Black woman who had publicly told the world she struggled coming to terms with her alopecia. A world where a Black woman's hair can cause the lowest pains of heartache to the highest moments of pride.

Black women are often judged or shamed by the way we wear our hair, though we have choices. Straighten it, wear it natural, or hide it. But when we are faced without a choice, with thinning hair, and at its most drastic, alopecia – hair loss, balding --- that is when we truly find our weakness and we try to turn it into strength, and courage.

With that we confide in those closest to us, our fears of becoming bald, our loss of self-esteem and image. Will I be OK showing my naked head or should I cover it up? It is NOT a walk in the park, and it is NOT something to make light of.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley made her choice to show her condition when she was ready, just as Jada Pinkett Smith did. With their courage, both give strength to others, to no be afraid and to accept and love themselves as they are, and not feel that it is necessary to hide alopecia. But also to take your time and seek the support of those closest to you.

Jada is not hiding. Certainly not at the Academy Awards – a Black woman in the company of her mostly White peers at the most important of occasions, to celebrate artistic achievements at the biggest of all awards ceremonies.

And then… Chris Rock made a joke about her appearance --- about her alopecia and likened her to "GI Jane." A cringy, awful comment that was hurtful and not funny.

Do I condone her husband's outburst? No.

Do I understand her husband's outburst? Yes. 

Will Smith knows intimately what Jada has been going through. He has been supporting her through her tears and shattered confidence. He has seen her at her lowest, questioning her femininity, her image, her beauty and feeling a devastating loss.

Chris Rock should have known better. He did a whole movie on Black hair and the pressure of destroying it to conform our natural hair to something more acceptable to White society. Being taught to hate ourselves. For Rock to think for a second that this joke was proper, was not only stupid – but dangerous. And shows he has learned NOTHING.

If Smith hadn't gone up there and clocked him, we Black women would still be talking about Rock's inappropriate comment and how taking cheap shots and making fun of Black women's appearances is still a national sport.

I don't think the devil came for Will Smith, I think it was an explosion of a deeply felt love that overwhelmed him and became uncaged and turned into anger. At that moment, there was no one else in the room. Just him and the man who insulted his hurting wife.

Maybe this will start a new conversation.

Can we talk?

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