Stars Weigh In: Will Chris Rock Ever Forgive Will Smith?
On Saturday (March 4th) Chris Rock dropped his long-awaited live Netflix special “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage” and addressed the elephant in the room — his Oscars incident with Will Smith.
Nearly a year after Smith slapped Rock on stage for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald haircut, Rock is finally talking about it.
Rock waited until the last 10 minutes of his set to focus on Smith — unloading a deluge of expletives while contending the assault was the actor’s reaction to all the criticism he had taken for accepting his wife’s very public affair.
“His wife was f—ing her son’s friend…she hurt him way more than he hurt me,” Rock said referring to Jada’s entanglement with singer August Alsina.
“Everybody in the world called him a b–h, Everybody. Everybody. And who’s he hit? Me. A n—a he knows he could beat. That is some b—h-ass s—t.”
Rock also proclaimed he’s no victim, joking that’s why he didn’t do interviews with Gayle King or Oprah Winfrey. Still, it seems Rocks anger was as fresh as it was a year ago, leaving one to question if and when these two will ever be able to make amends.
HipHollywood caught up with a host of comedians at the Lexus Uptown Honors with most saying they believe Rock was well within his right to respond the way he did through his art.
“I saw Chris’ special,” said Cedric the Entertainer. “I thought, you know, he did it. He did what he had to do, you know what I’m saying? It was moments that was brilliant. It was moments that I was like, I don’t know, but that’s comedy for you, you know what I mean?”
“We have to let him have his chance to speak about it,” said Anthony Anderson. “You know, he was involved with it. He was the victim, the innocent victim and all of it. So just to see him, you know, speak about it publicly, to get it off his chest and to deal with it in his way, that was a beautiful thing.”
“He spoke from the heart. He spoke how he felt, and we got to keep that freedom of speech,” said Guy Torry.
Anderson also applauded Chris for expressing himself publicly but hopes the two can speak privately and work it out.
“That takes maturity, that takes patience, and it takes water under the bridge, and hopefully they both have it, and hopefully they’ve had those conversations.”
“This is one of those circumstances that, you know, I know them both, you know, and I just hope that they, as men, can get through it,” added Cedric.
Since the incident, Smith has apologized publicly to Rock, while also keeping a low profile. He made his first Awards show appearance at the AAFCA Awards (March 1st) to accept his award for his film Emancipation — receiving a pretty warm welcome from the crowd.
When asked if Hollywood, specifically Black Hollywood is ready to move past the incident and work with Smith again, Cedric said: “I’m friends with both of them, so Will was always good with me.”
“He’s supposed to be able to say his piece. Will’s supposed to be able to say his piece. And I’m still going to watch all they’re movies, all Christmas specials. I’m good,” said Affion Crockett.
“Will Smith can come back to the cookout because it’s over,” joked Kym Whitley. “Chris has had his say. Will has suffered. We know he has. I think he’s paid for what he’s done, and we have to know how to get over things. The others, they get over their things and they let their people back in. So we have to be able to do that.”
“We can dead the slap it’s over,” said comedian Rob Gordon. “We can talk about it. It’ll be whispers at the cookout, but we’re good. No, we’re not moving on. Comedians, most of us, hoard feelings. We keep grudges, and that’s what gives us our fire. That’s our chip, that’s our edge. You can come through. You and Chris Rock can slap box in the back and we’ll let somebody grandma referee.”
“I think it’s been over with, but he said what he had to say, finally, and everybody can move on,” added Deon Cole.
“We got to get through it,” said Bill Bellamy. “It was just one of those things, but it happened in the culture. That’s what it is, and that’s how we do. And hopefully we handle it in the culture. We learn from it and we keep moving.”
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