Fate is a fickle thing. Will Smith must have realized the same when he won the BET Awards, for his performance in King Richard. The actor has been in and out of headlines sporadically over the last few months for the infamous Chris Rock slap incident that needs no introduction. The award comes three months after he was banned from attending the Oscars for a decade despite apologizing to the Academy. Will Smith wasn’t even personally present at the award function where he bagged the Best Actor award.
Not the first win for Will Smith’s Richard Williams
Will Smith who played the role of the Williams sisters’ father, won the award for best actor for the sports drama. The other actors in the category (which also includes television performances) were Adrian Holmes and Jabari Banks for Bel Air, Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, Damson Idris for Snowfall, Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth, Forest Whitaker for Respect, and Godfather of Harlem, and Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us. And the film won various accolades.
The movie was also declared the best movie in the BET awards. The movie also previously won a BAFTA Award, Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, SAG Award, Critics Choice Award, and the Oscar for King Richard. But all these accolades have been overshadowed by the slapping incident.
Why Will Smith hit Chris Rock at the Oscars?
The incident, which headlined these Oscars, occurred when comedian Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett’s shaved head. The joke compared her to the protagonist of GI Jane, where the titular character had a shaved head. The joke angered Will Smith, who then stormed to the stage and slapped Chris Rock, an incident which shocked fans and celebrities alike. He returned to his seat, but added, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”
Jada suffers from alopecia, which made her go bald. Chris making a joke about that angered Will. And he went all out.
The actor explained in a statement days later that the punch line was “too much for me to bear” and that he “reacted emotionally.” He added:
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
Later he resigned from the Academy, which then banned him from attending their ceremonies for the next 10 years.
He concluded at the time, “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
How the three parties are processing the incident?
Meanwhile, Chris Rock, 57, has made some jokes revolving around the incident at stand-up performances. But he has not gone into detail and has said he’ll “talk about it at some point” eventually. He also added that he doesn’t care about Jada’s efforts to reconcile with him.
Jada Pinkett Smith, 50, addressed the incident on a recent episode of her Red Table Talk show, saying, “About Oscar night: My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile.” She said that she would continue her relationship with Will Smith and the two will try to “keep figuring out this thing called life together.”