Smith’s slap has lasting impacts

Writer Wyatt Jackson writes that actor Will Smith’s infamous Oscar slap hurt not only Chris Rock, but Smith’s career and Black men in general.

Doesn’t it feel like Will Smith has become irrelevant after his infamous slap during the 2022 Oscars? He’s human and humans are meant to make mistakes, but his mistake feels like it’s cost him his juice.

The happiest people tend to be those with no regrets. 

Now, I know Smith apologized for his actions and justified why he was out of line. But the question of sincerity continues to loom over him, even almost a year later. 

As an African American in the Black community, I can tell that people don’t view or respect Will Smith in the same light. Whether that’s fair or not, it’s the reality of what others perceive about him. 

He perpetuated a stereotype that paints us African American men in a bad light. A stereotype that implies men of color having the inability to come up with rational solutions in moments of controversy. As if we can’t sit down and have a conversation without relying on violence to be the solution to whatever issue. 

The most underlying factor with Will Smith’s reputation is his wife Jada Pinkett. Not to get into details about the situation, but many believe she’s the reason behind Smith’s reputation being destroyed. 

Prior to the incident at the Oscars, Jada and Will were making headline news because of their rocky marriage. Many remember the infamous “Red Table Talk,” where Jada publicly exposed her relationship with another man while her and Will were supposedly separated. 

She spoke about not needing permission from him to engage with other guys. It’s bad enough that she stepped out on their marriage, but what made matters even worse was her dragging Will to speak publicly about their marriage on camera. It was completely humiliating for him and people across the media clowned him for it. It made people question Will’s manhood because how could you continue to stand by someone with so little respect for you. 

Which brought us to Oscar night. Will Smith believed he acted in good faith for the protection of his wife. But I question whether Jada believes that to be true. Because in the moment of Will lashing out, you could see Jada laughing about the situation as if it was a joke. 

What kind of wife responds that way, as her husband implodes in front of the entire world for the benefit of you. 

Now, I understand that sometimes you can act sporadically in high pressure situations, but some of Smith’s decisions throughout the past couple of years led people to lose respect. And rightfully so, but I do hope one day he can avenge his downfall and come out on top.

– Wyatt Jackson

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