First there was the slap. The conspiracy theorists among us will say it was an act when Will Smith walked on stage during the 94th Academy Awards and slapped the S#!& out of Chris Rock for making a joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Whatever your feelings about Will Smith, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett, whether he should have or should not have, we can all agree, no one saw that coming.
And now we have an apology.
Last month Will Smith resurfaced, after being away from the public eye since that happened. He posted a video apologizing, not only to Chris Rock, but to his mother and the fans as well.
There is some debate about whether it was genuine, if he made too much about himself, or if he should have even spoken before he talked to Chris Rock.
What’s unfortunate is that the apology has been discussed less than the slap. This world we live in is so focused on the viral, the sensational, we gravitate to the absurd over the mundane. So Will Smith slaps someone on national Television and for a solid month, that is all we have to talk about. Social media, News media, barbershop talk, at the bar — all we heard was, “So what are your thoughts on the slap?”
I’ve heard no one ask, “How about that apology?” Will Smith bears his soul and answers some tough questions about the slap and why he did it and what he would say to his fans that are disappointed in him. Our first instinct is to question the authenticity of the apology and his intentions. It’s sick and it’s warranted.
We are inundated with so much information from so many sources it can be difficult to discern what is and isn’t real. It becomes easy to write it all off as fake. It is how we protect ourselves.
But can we pause? Can we consider that maybe Will Smith is human and he made a mistake? And not that we should give him a pass, but that maybe we can give him a chance to right this wrong?
Can we determine the truth of his apology right now? Probably not. We can guess and try and predict. But in the end, all we have is whatever he does next.