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The Will Smith – Chris Rock Slap was Necessary

Chris Rock’s comments on black women’s hair has carried enough negativity. The gravitas of his collective definition of black hair resounds as redundant and tarried. About his cumulative research and endearment to the topic should accompany some tact or subtlety. Moreover, his Oscar comments on Jada Pinkett-Smith prove that he did not “understand the assignment.” Although, toeing the line of too offensive, Will Smith’s slap belligerently cancels the figurative hold and valuation placed upon the cultural cost of black women’s hair. “Good Hair” is all hair, Mr. Rock, and you have no reputable say in an industry of which you wrongly asserted prejudice. 

Simply put, after watching “Good Hair,”(A documentary on black women’s hair) Rock’s voice on the subject rings as culturally hypocritical. Even More so, his comments on Jada Pinkett-Smith and her hair coincidentally contradicted his understanding of Alopecia. One of the more memorable moments from the documentary posits Rock on the other side of the table of Shiela Bridges. In the clip Rock almost sits in awe of a black woman for baring her beauty in a bald manner. Perhaps if he exhibited even a modicum of the sheer respect and understanding as he did for these cameras, for Pinkett then maybe the discussion would be different.

His humorous takes on the subject, while expected, contribute to the enduring negativity surrounding the image of black women. During the documentary and Rock’s trip to India he states in jest to an Indian girl, “if you see a black woman just run the other way.”  Insinuating that the black girl would somehow steal her hair while walking in public. The assumed and tired subversive narrative resounding of blackness equating criminality and menace. Rock may not comprehend the potency of his soapbox.

Smith Knows: Sometimes We Need to Be Inappropriate

Photo by aniestla on Unsplash

Consequently, also comes the provocative moment of the discussion at hand. Smith’s slap pronounces with an equal lack of tact and eloquence of Rock’s. Nevermore, shall a black woman’s value receive reduction due to hair. Will, though solemnly declaring the moment in defense of his wife, also may perchance claim possession of a slight activism of sorts. Furthermore, Ice-T contests the perfect advice for Rock in his own documentary, “women should not point fingers at other women for how their hair looks.” In effect if women need not comment, then men certainly deserve no right to do so.

Representation often employs the use of symbolism. Rightly so, as representation requires assessment of image. Knowing this, perhaps, Will Smith sought an opportunity in physically chiding Rock. At any rate, maybe this supposition requires more foresight than even Will had. Nevertheless, intentional or not Will’s actions wield consequences. Whether those outcomes champion the value of black women over Chris Rock’s victimhood remains up to the public. One fact remains true in any case, you better keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out of your mouth if you don’t have anything nice to say!    

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