Unpopular Opinion Regarding Will Smith & Chris Rock In The Twilight
There is no doubt that the “slap heard round the world” last week cultivated a flurry of commentary literally overnight. We, Americans, are not known for wasting time, rather shooting from the hip in most cases and we did not disappoint in this one.
That’s not how I roll, however…not at this point in my life. At fifty-five, I prefer to sit back and allow a bit of distance, experience, and wisdom to mix in with a situation before I offer an opinion, especially one that is expressed publicly. The first inkling of that opinion in the “Will Smith and Chris Rock” controversy was shared by me on Tiktok within my profile @depressionarymindedmama. I will explain and expand upon my thoughts from that video here.
No doubt, “violence is almost never an acceptable alternative.” I say “almost never” because there are instances when there is nothing you can do but to employ it such as in the case of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in an effort to defend his people and country. But Will Smith was not in this kind of forced predicament. There was no threat to be defended against, nor intentional malice against his wife. Will Smith knows this as we all do. He also knows that he is privileged and that the high-profile nature of his work makes him both a role model for all and a game changer in his particular industry. I’m sure I wasn’t the only parent who had to explain the situation to their children and somehow turn what occurred into a valuable lesson.
At the same time, I don’t know one person who hasn’t behaved sometime in their lives in a way that they aren’t proud of (damn right ashamed of, in fact) — a moment when we even shocked ourselves at the conclusion of doing. Can anyone actually say they haven’t in all honesty? We’ve all lived the “Will Smith-Chris Rock” moment and to overlook it as a reference point in this instance when laying judgment, well that’s wrong, in my opinion. When has two wrongs ever made a right?
As “insufficiency is one of those things built into the human experience,” we are all subject to being insufficient. According to my belief system, the imperfect moments of others aren’t mine or yours to judge. That right purely belongs to God and that doesn’t change on a case by case basis. How can we assume otherwise? We don’t know why God has placed Will Smith on the particular journey that he has nor all that he has asked Smith to carry along the way leading up to this very imperfect, public moment. But we shouldn’t allow what we don’t know color what we do.
Strip away all of the ornamentation draped around Will Smith’s life and how you, yourself, feel about them or him, Will Smith simply “got it wrong”. But according to the words of Jesus and the many examples set throughout the Bible (yes, I said it), we were never expected to get it all right. We are simply expected to grow to be better (put in another way, become more like Jesus) through every new failure. As Chris Rock showed mercy and understanding, we should too, which includes in the immediate aftermath of these two men’s altercation when the pain experienced by both was fresh and brutally stinging.
Maybe you think I am a fool for my thoughts on the matter but the script I’ve been reading from over the course of my life is very clear on these matters. My greatest hope is that Will Smith, everyone involved and the rest of us, takes this experience and transforms themselves in a way where we can all do better in our own lives going forward. Hell, maybe we all needed the lesson and it was served to us in a way that all would be forced to hear. God never disappoints, especially when endeavoring to prove a point. And certainly mercy and understanding are in short supply today.
Whatever the reason, most assuredly, the unforgettable moment will be relived by Will Smith and Chris Rock for years to come. And may even find its way into both men’s careers to the benefit of us. Equally so, Will Smith will have to live with the consequences of his choice specific to the overall impact on his professional future, which now includes being sanctioned by the Academy in some way. Afterall, Will Smith represents a significant star falling and Hollywood is already working overtime to keep their universe glimmering amid the swift and sudden burnout it is experiencing for all kinds of reasons obvious to most of us. The Academy sees a larger picture that they must now deal with through Smith’s behavior
But so do we. We must remember in our harsh, trigger-finger judgment, that none of us is navigating our lives perfectly. So maybe we should take our fingers off the trigger, reflect, and remember a time when that gun was pointed in our direction, held by our own hands, and we stood where Will Smith stood now…at the feet of the most high along with every one of us.