Will Smith’s slap could damage his family’s brand

At this year’s Academy Awards, even before Mr. Rock took the stage, Regina Hall alluded to the Smiths’ relationship in a comic segment in which she hinted at personally inspecting some of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors and joked that her Covid test results had been lost. “Will Smith,” she said. “You’re married, but you know what, you’re on the list and it looks like Jada approved you. So get up here.” He laughed and stayed seated.

What got Mr. Smith to his feet, striding purposefully across the room to hit Mr. Rock, was a made-up line about Ms. Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. It hurt, Mr. Smith later explained, because Ms. Pinkett Smith has alopecia, which causes hair loss. “One joke about Jada’s health was too much for me and I reacted emotionally,” Mr. Smith explained in the apology to Mr. Rock and others of his posted on Instagram monday evening For his part, Mr. Rock said on Wednesday’s comedy show that he was still preparing the event. (A representative for Mr. Smith declined to comment. Representatives for Ms. Pinkett Smith and Mr. Rock did not respond to requests for comment.)

For many viewers and fans, especially black fans, the incident, which involved three of Hollywood’s most prominent black artists, was tense and not easy to judge. “It’s a really complicated moment because of all the ways it resonates with gender and race and power and brand,” he said Miriam Pettia film historian and professor at Northwestern University who studies black fame.

Some commenters criticized Mr Rock for what they thought was a low-blow joke. Others, like actress Tiffany Haddish, who starred opposite Ms. Pinkett Smith in the comedy Girls Trip, applauded Mr. Smith for appearing to be defending his wife’s honor, which Dr. Petty as understandable in a world where Black women and other women of color are not afforded the same social protections as their white counterparts. But was this attitude anti-feminist? Did it glorify violence? “Again – messy, messy, messy,” said Dr. petty

Since turning 50, Mr. Smith has to some extent relaxed his public image. A recent YouTube series “Best character of my life” which was supposedly aimed at his non-superhero dad bod was really about resolving his own behavioral constraints. He has traveled without security for the first time in years; finally learned to swim; and tried to come to terms with the toll that relationship was taking after his father’s death in 2016.

In the statement announcing his retirement from the Academy, Mr Smith said: “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/02/movies/will-smith-family-oscars-slap.html Will Smith’s slap could damage his family’s brand

Isaiah Colbert

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