The Slap Heard Around the World: Violence isn’t the answer but sometimes it is, especially in the case of Chris Rock
This year, the Oscars theme was don’t start no $hit won’t, be no $hit, and mediocre comedian, Chris rock was reminded, that you can catch hands anytime, anyplace, even at the Oscars. Unfortunately, Will Smith’s first Oscar win for Best Actor in a leading role for King Richard was overshadowed by him having to check Rock, in the form of a bitch slap, for making a stale ass J.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s beautiful bald head. Although Will Smith’s win was overshadowed by Rock’s negrasity (nigga audacity) he won major BAP points for defending his wife.
It’s quite ironic that Rock even made the joke considering he directed, wrote, and starred in a documentary called “Good Hair,” in an attempt to promote confidence in Black women and their natural hair. Funnily enough, he was inspired to create the documentary after his then, three-year-old daughter Lola asked him, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” For Chris Rock to make a joke about a black woman’s medical condition which, caused her to be bald, on national television in a predominately white space is quite telling.
Based on Rock’s microaggressive antics it’s clear he’s a participant in the unspoken code in the Black community: There’s an expiration date on empathy and protection awarded to Black girls and women. The joke was not only anti-black as fuck but also ablest. Jada Pinkett Smith has been very candid about her diagnosis of alopecia. She even dedicated an entire Red Table Talk episode to her hair loss and how it’s affected her mentally. Furthermore, this whole situation should open up a larger discussion on what we deem as funny within our community. Clearly, nobody learned anything from Chadwick Boseman and the wild speculation he got when behind closed doors he was dying of cancer. But, y’all not ready for that discussion.
When I think about Rock’s repertoire of work, are we really surprised that we got this level of what Black men consider “comedy“ from him? I mean the man isn’t an intellect nor has he contributed anything of real value to the Black community. While Everybody Hate’s Chris was a relatable show, it was still doused in negative stereotypes, anti-blackness, and misogynoir, so the joke was very much on brand. If you ask me Kevin Hart is just the new Chris Rock: a rebranded minstrelsy act for white people to gain a birdseye view into the fruits of their ancestor’s labor, white supremacy being perpetuated by the Black man under the guise of “comedy”.
It’s interesting how the court of public opinion completely unlearned everything we learned from last week from Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing. The internet had all these takes and thoughts on how resilient Black women are and how we endure and accept every single type of disrespect on this planet with style, grace, and a smile. Yet, the minute a Black man with social capital uses his privilege on a white stage to protect a Black woman from someone in our community its violence isn’t the answer. God forbid Jada went up there and did it herself So I leave you with a quote from Karrine Steffans:
“Everyone thinks its funny when I’m getting disrespected, but when I get disrespectful, nobody laughs.”Karrine Steffans