Oscars 2022 and The Slap Seen Around the World3 min read
Danielle Sanders, Managing Editor
The Oscars, Hollywood’s most glamourous evening returned last night. History was made, Beyonce performed, and Will Smith hit Chris Rock onstage over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. This year the Oscars had three hosts, Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes and despite giving awards to nominees prior to the telecast, the show still went on for more than three hours.
It was a big night for streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV which snagged multiple nominations. Apple TV’s “Coda” took home top honors for best picture. Ariana DeBose made history by becoming the first openly queer person of color to win an Oscar, taking home the statue for best-supporting actress for the film, West Side Story. Beyonce and her daughter, Blue performed the song from “King Richard” and was a stunning vision in yellow.
However, it was a joke that sent social media into a frenzy at the 2022 Oscar telecast. Comedian Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary when he joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head with a G.I. Jane reference. Pinkett-Smith looked visibly disturbed, and Will Smith walked up to the stage and hit the comedian before returning to his seat. “Will Smith just punched the S*%t out of me,” Chris Rock said as he gained his composure to announce the winner. “That’s right said Smith, “Keep my wife’s name out your F$%king mouth,” he continued.
The evening continued without further incident with Roots drummer, Questlove, taking home the Oscar for Summer of Soul. Will Smith later won the Oscar for his role in “King Richard” and attempted to address the incident saying, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.” He continued “Love will make you do crazy things.”
The incident sparked fierce debate and commentary at post-Oscar parties and on social media with many shocked by the incident and others saddened. The LAPD issued a statement saying they were “aware of an incident between two individuals at the Oscars” and that Chris Rock declined to press charges against Smith.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been subject to criticism recently for airing what many believe is their “family business” for public consumption. Pinkett-Smith suffers from Alopecia, a disease, in which the immune system destroys the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. Pinkett-Smith has been vocal about losing her hair and living with the disease saying she was terrified when she noticed “handfuls of hair” coming out of her scalp in the shower. On an episode of her show, “Red Table Talk” she said, “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear, that’s why I cut my hair and continued to cut it.”
Will Smith most recently in his book, “Will” spoke about the helplessness he felt being unable to protect his mother from domestic abuse. Some felt, that Will Smith, was protecting and defending his wife, obviously humiliated by the joke while others felt Will Smith went too far and assaulted a comedian live on television without suffering any consequences. Comedian Tiffany Haddish came to Smith’s defense saying at a post-Oscar party to PEOPLE magazine “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me,”