The Academy Awards usually have a few viral moments, but this year’s was on another level entirely. It’s been months, but the public is still reeling from seeing Will Smith storm the stage and slap Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. As the discourse continues, Rock’s brother has brought up Tupac and Jada when asked about motivations behind the infamous Oscars slap.
The Slap happened late into Oscars Night, when Chris Rock was presenting the Best Documentary Feature category. He cracked a few jokes at the celebs in the front row, and made a jab about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, seemingly unaware of her public struggles with alopecia. Will Smith would slap Rock in the face on live television in response, before returning to his seat and continuing to scream at the comic. Since then countless people have weighed in on the viral moment, including comedian Tony Rock, who is also Chris Rock’s brother. He recently appeared on the podcast Top Billin’ with Bill Bellamy, where he mused on Smith’s reactions throughout the night. As he put it,
Well, there you have it. That’s just one person’s reaction, but clearly Tony Rock has really thought out Will Smith’s possible motivations in regards to the slap. The moment of violence was seemingly out of character for the beloved actor, who would win an Oscar for Best Actor shortly thereafter. As such, Rock seems to think that it goes deeper than his brother’s one joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.
Jada Pinkett Smith famously had a relationship with Tupac Shakur prior to his infamous death back in 1996. They met while attending the Baltimore School for the Arts and collaborated on music videos. Whats more, she even contributed to his bail at one point. Their relationship was portrayed onscreen in the biopic All Eyez on Me, with actress Kat Graham playing Jada Pinkett.
Tony Rock is making this connection, claiming that Will Smith’s slap might have deeper issues that go back years. He cited Tupac, as well as Smith’s previous reputation as someone who is “soft” instead of being hardened by the streets. Rock is also examining how Smith went from laughing to violence so quickly, which is definitely an aspect of the drama that folks have been mystified by. Clearly the discourse surrounding the Oscars slap isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
It remains to be seen how Will Smith’s professional career recovers from this viral incident, as a number of his projects were put on pause in response. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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