Will Smith and Chris Rock - A Distraction and Lesson to be Learned

How we can learn from the slap heard around the world as Afrikan people.

Jamaal Brewer

3/30/2022 3 min read

It's the slap heard around the world so far in 2022. On March 27th, in Los Angeles, California during the annual Oscars celebration in which Hollywood gives out their awards for best acting performances; the world re-renowned 'Fresh Prince' aka Will Smith took to the stage, went into a windup, and smacked legendary comedian Chris Rock with his right hand. Rock made a comment on live television about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith, comparing her to Demi Moore's character in 'Gi Jane' who joined the United States military and shaved her head. Recently, Pinkett-Smith has been showcasing her shave and has been very open that it's due to her battle with alopecia in which people loses patches over hair over a period of time. At first, the husband Smith laughed it off. Only for momentarily switching it up and committing his act.

There's a lot to debate about this. Who's to blame? Does Rock as a Comedian have a right to make such an insensitive joke? Is Smith justified for the attack due to the passion one should have for his or her family? There are valid arguments on both ends. However and unfortunately, in the game of White Supremacy, this was a checkmate win for our oppressors. Once again we allowed our petty differences to get the best of us and this event was another in front of the world. Two talented Afrikan men with longevity and intelligence who used verbal (Rock) and physical (Smith) attacks to belittle one another. Giving racist news networks their dream of profiting off of conflict we created.

Cellphones, Laptops, and Wifi combined is arguably the single largest compound of distractions the world has ever seen. We have access to videos, photos, music, chats, texts, at a rate we never seen. I'm old enough to remember the days when having 50 cable channels and a 12 disc CD was considered 'balling.' Now in 2022, some folks have access to over 300 network channels on their television. As well as other Independent media such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Paramount, and Youtube with THOUSANDS of more programming. Access to these things is almost as easy as snapping your fingers. And these giants corporations literally spend millions to find ways for our brains to become addicted to all the content they showcase.

With all the mind manipulation ingredients mentioned in the last paragraph, it's pretty obvious why the Smith/Rock feud has garnered such much attention. But there is something we must understand and be careful about. Throughout history, White Supremacy has used entertainment and celebrities to hinder our vision from real issues affecting our struggle. We reminisce Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the hands of Justin Timberlake during the American football Super Bowl in 2004. We know the lyrics to Nas' entire 'Illmatic' album of 1994. There's countless discussions daily on who's better between NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James. We want to know if a bakery cake on Netflix is real or not. Distractions, Distractions, after Distractions.

Life is stressful. I don't want by any means to reduce the emphasis of leisure time. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I say I wasn't watching a Netflix series, watching a ballgame, or checking the latest about the drama that unfolded at the Oscars. But there must be a balance. What happened to the talks of the African Migrants in Ukraine being unable to return to their countries while their White counterparts are transported with ease? In the past month alone President Manangagwa of Zimbabwe talked about expelling NGOs; the United Kingdom suspended Nigerian Visas in order to house Ukrainian nationals, Burkina Faso announced a new government in wakes of its three year transition, and President Joe Biden of the United States still haven't done anything constructive for Afrikans living in America. These are small examples of where our focus should be.

Marcus Garvey once said 'the greatest weapon used against the Negro is DIS-Organization.' With all these technical devices that distract us we can flip the script and use them to liberate us globally. There was once a time where we would have to find the latest Newspaper or research an encyclopedia about current events and history. Now we can do so with the gadgets in the palm of our hands and get answers in seconds. But instead it's more convenient to 'Party and Bulls*it' like the last poets famously said. On a small scale, Will Smith and Chris Rock can and should be discussed. What they did is a teachable moment for our youth and our movement. However if we don't bring the same energy when it comes to issues at the root of our oppression then we are nothing but pawns to uphold White rule.