“Wow, Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” Rock said, to which Smith responded, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.” After taking a moment to collect himself in wake of this unprecedented moment, the comedian quipped, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
It all happened after Rock joked about Jada’s hair and said she was set to star in a sequel to G.I. Jane.
Jada opened up late last year about the decision to shave her head saying it was because she had been dealing with alopecia. “Now at this point, I can only laugh,” Pinkett Smith said. “Y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here.”
The Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg shared video of Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry speaking with Smith just offstage before a third person tries to comfort the clearly emotional actor.
Sean Combs tried to play peacemaker moments after the incident, declaring “we’re gonna solve that like family at the Gold Party.”
It has since become increasingly clear that all of this took away from what should’ve been Questlove’s moment after winning his first Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category for Summer of Soul.
Following the shocking incident, Will Smith won the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard and apologized to the Academy. It’s the first time that Smith has won an Oscar.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said while accepting the award, as transcribed by IndieWire. “In this time of my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses who played Venus and Serena.”
Smith continued, “I’m being called on in my life to love people, and to protect people, and to be a river to my people. And I know that to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business. You gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and act like that’s okay. Denzel said to me a few moments ago, ‘That’s your highest moment. Be careful, that’s when the Devil comes for you.’ It’s like, I wanna be a vessel for love. I wanna say thank you to Venus and Serena, for entrusting me with your story.
The actor closed out his speech by saying that he hopes he’ll be invited back to the Oscars in the future.
“Thank you for this honor, thank you for this moment. And I hope the Academy invites me back. Thank you.”
Will and Jada’s son Jaden took to social media after it all went down. “And That’s How We Do It,” he wrote. In another tweet, Jaden commented on his dad’s speech and said that it made him cry.