Everyone Involved in the Smith/Rock Oscars Debacle Seriously Fu*ked Up
I’m a child of the ’90s, meaning I’m a “Fresh Prince” child. I admire Will Smith. I even liked some of his — how should I put it — less than critically acclaimed movies; OK, OK, I admit. I liked Hancock. Guilty as charged. I just like Will Smith that much.
Being a Will Smith fan, it took me a few moments to properly digest his actions during the 94th Acadamy Awards. My initial response was: What on earth just happen? And as time passed, and as the ceremony continued, I couldn’t stop thinking about how disappointed I was by Smith. While he’s probably the one bearing most of the blame, everyone involved in the ‘slap that was heard around the world’ debacle managed to (to use Smith’s words) completely fu*k everything up so badly.
I think that everyone could basically agree that the “GI Jane” bit was a very bad joke. It was bad because it wasn’t funny. ‘Ha-ha, here’s a woman with no hair, let's make fun of her’ — Not really sophisticated humor. It was bad because it wasn’t relevant. “GI Jane”, a 25-year-old movie, is that your reference? Really? Mostly, the joke was bad because it was insensitive.
I’m all for stretching the boundaries of comedy. Few things are ‘off-limits’ in my opinion. But Jada Pinkett Smith’s battle with Alopecia is tough and very public. Joking about it is being plain mean. Now, I don’t know whether Rock was even aware of Pinkett Smith’s condition, I would want to believe he wasn’t. So I would give him the benefit of the doubt as to not being mean, but merely negligent for not thinking and checking whether there was a medical issue at play.
As some people mentioned, Rock produced a whole documentary about the importance of hair in black women's culture. He, of all people, should have been way more sensitive to this issue (and way funnier nonetheless).
There’s no excuse. Simply none. I get that it was a stressful evening, a make-or-break point in Smith’s 30-year-long career. I get that three decades of pressure, responsibility, critics, and expectations all boiled down to one night, and one award that could be handed to him…