Will Smith was not in a good “head-space” last night at the Oscar Awards.
How do I know that? Because he did what he did, that’s how. On a pinnacle night of his outstanding acting career, winning his one and only Academy Award, he lost it.
How many of us can relate? How many times have we lost it, especially at an important moment in our lives? So, maybe don’t be too harsh and judgmental about the Fresh Prince.
Having written that, violence is almost never an effective response to a nonviolent assault (whether the “attack” is real or imagined).
Chris Rock is a comic. His job is to tell jokes. Many of his bits make fun of people, including himself. This is the social contract when you’re a celebrity sitting in the audience at an awards’ shows. Presenters tell jokes. They are often about those sitting in the crowd.
Smith slapped Rock after the presenter made a joke referencing Smith’s wife Jada. The couple have been talked about in the media for some time about a lot of things – especially about their marriage. Ironically, jokes had already been made on the show about the Smiths’ purported “open” relationship, Will laughed at that. But when Will climbed up on the stage to attack Chris, it seemed to be motivated by Rock’s joke at his wife’s expense: “Jada, GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
Putting aside what a shame it is that two hugely successful black entertainment icons were involved in something like, people are already choosing “teams”. Team Will or Team Chris?
Unfortunately, all too often, when something happens whether it is cultural or political—we have this tendency to “tribe-up”.
Tribalism is having a massively negative impact on our society. It is a counterfeit couching of our actual relationship with each other.
In reality, we are not of different tribes or teams. We may have preferences or different backgrounds, but THE truth (spiritually speaking) is that we are actually ONE—one unified organism.
If there is anything which demonstrates how interconnected we are, all you have to consider is what is happening now in Ukraine and what happened with COVID.
So, why did Chris Rock tell that joke?
1. Because it is his job.
2. Because he had the mic (aka control) and decided to use it to tweak the man of the hour, Will Smith (the odds-on favorite to win the best actor award—which he did win) through the guy’s wife.
One of the reasons people go into entertainment is the attention-getting exercise it is and the control of having everyone focused on you. So much of what we do in life is dominated by our ill-advised desire to control and be controlled. For more on this, listen to this podcast on Why Ukraine.
Just like with the situation in Ukraine and Russia or sports or politics or history or popular culture (like what happened with Will and Chris)—I use these things to benefit you beautiful humans for life lessons.
Here are the salient lessons coming out of the altercation in Hollywood:
1. Don’t try to get to someone through a spouse, a loved one or a friend.
2. Inter-relational violence as a solution to nonviolent stimuli is not a solution. Stay away from it.
3. Under great stress (like possibly winning a life-changing award before an international audience of billions of people) don’t consume drugs or alcohol. We don’t know if Will Smith had been using, but it is always a good idea in general to stay away from inebriation under pressure.
4. If you screw up, own it. And for god’s sake, apologize to the person you wronged not just “those who may have been offended”. Will Smith apologized to his fellow actors and the academy, not who he hit—Chris Rock.
5. Don’t make excuses and leave God out of it! God has NOTHING to do with it. Will’s explanation and apology during his acceptance speech was full of lame rationalizations, weird spirituality and excuses.
6. When you apologize for effing-up, apologize WITHOUT excuse. People will respect it much more.
No need to take sides. Will and Chris are “one” and righteous whether they know it or not. However, when you know it and meditate that fact, it may just help rectify the normal ebbs and flows of life more expeditiously and may cause us to pause before losing it on international TV or anywhere else for that matter.
Check-out this meditation below I wrote and posted on my site. I articulate it daily. You can, too.
Love you, People!