‘It brought tears to my eyes’: The aftermath of Will Smith’s Oscar slap of Chris Rock

CHICAGO (SCS) — If you saw it live, you wondered: was it real or an act?

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, the best actor Oscar favorite of the night, was hoping to take the stage and slap the face of a hugely popular comedian who was there to present an award. CBS 2’s Jim Williams has more.

But then we saw Will Smith, back in his seat, chewing on Chris Rock, “keep my wife’s name out of your mouth,” Smith said. Rock looked shaken. It was very real.

Social networks have exploded. WVON Radio host and commentator Kimberley Egonmwan assesses the fury.

“Many of them are still in shock that this happened on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year,” Egonmwan said.

It started with a joke. Chris Rock noting the tight cut hair of Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

Jada Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, which causes baldness. Businesswoman Grace Little-Henton, without apologizing for the slap, sees a man defending his wife.

“No role for violence, but he was defending his queen. Black queens need to be defended,” she said.

But lawyer Karen Wallace takes a tough line against Will Smith’s behavior.

“I really don’t agree to defend his wife. I mean, even if he was offended, there are better ways to handle the situation. You know, it brought tears to my eyes,” said said Wallace.

Smith, after announcing he had won the Oscar for his role in “King Richard”, apologized, but did not mention Rock’s name.

This on a night when artists of color did well at the Oscars this year, and the show itself was produced by a black man.

“For me, it just took away from such a wonderful event that was so special,” Wallace said.

Exavier Pope, a lawyer and host of Suit Up, said we should separate confrontation from black excellence on display Sunday night.

“It should be celebrated that a black man, Will Packer, produced the TV show. It should be celebrated. It doesn’t take away from my opinion,” Pope said.

Yet Kimberley Egonnwan considers the slap to be emblematic of the violence and anger that runs through society.

“We’re a nation on edge and it’s something we need to reflect on – the use of violence and also what our children think when they see how adults react so aggressively and violently,” said Egonmwan.


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