The Downfall of The Smiths — Will the Real Will and Jada Please Stand Up?

When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over Rock’s tepid joke at the 2022 Oscars, people immediately blamed Jada Pinkett Smith. In a recent interview with Hoda Kotb for TODAY, Jada herself described the backlash, saying that the public thought of her as “the adultress wife” who “made Will Smith go to ‘Red Table Talk‘ to discuss her extra-marital affair with August Alsina and “now look at what she’s done. She has the power with an eyeroll to make him go up and slap somebody on stage.” Funny enough, as a blogger with an upper-level legal education who is by no means a troll — Jada’s characterization is EXACTLY what I thought. Though we are all responsible for our own acts, especially when they involve physical violence, Will Smith looked completely unhinged on Oscar night, and I could not help but wonder if his tumultuous personal life was to blame. Call me traditional, but a husband sitting beside his wife as she publicly discusses her “entanglement” with a much younger man who made her happy in a way her husband could not, could take a mental and emotional toll on said husband.

For those who do not know, ‘Red Table Talk’ was a talk show on on Facebook Watch hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. The series featured candid conversations about relationships, family dynamics, mental health, addiction and other personal and social issues. Most importantly, the show was marketed as the mecca of truth talking. Jada often discussed how she made her marriage to Will Smith work, implying that the couple had risen above many of their past challenges and they were proud to say that “divorce is not an option.” For years there were rumors that the twosome had an open marriage and they vehemently denied it. It was not until August Alsina exposed his years long relationship with Jada, that the façade began to crack. The Smiths were now forced to address the state of their union, and they did it at the Red Table. Only they didn’t really do it. They simply revealed that they had briefly separated, NOT that they weren’t together at all. Though “divorce” might not be an option, a long-term separation certainly was. We now know that the power couple have been living separately for SEVEN years. For all intents and purposes — they are divorced.

Hollywood is a funny place. When you live here, you’ll often hear tales of A-lister adultery, drug use, and open relationships, and it’s always met with my personal eyeroll. “Why would anyone fake their relationship for YEARS,” I’d ask in the most agitated of tones, often chalking these rumors up to conspiracy theories. Then I’d think of Rock Hudson and remind myself that all things are possible. BUT there hasn’t been a Rock Hudson-style fake marriage in decades…until now.

Jada and Will faked it. And they REALLY faked it. They walked red carpets, they joked about keeping their relationship hot, they hosted people at their home for ‘Red Table Talk,’ and so on. And why would anyone put so much effort into faking a relationship? Because Jada and Will were a brand, and it served their brand to stay together. Now that Will’s reputation is irreparably tarnished, it no longer serves a purpose to pretend. Jada’s press tour to promote her new book, ‘Worthy,’ is simply another attempt to preserve a public image that was erroneously predicated on authenticity and honesty. Good luck. We’ve seen the wizard, and we’re not going back.

Chris Rock’s Oscars 2016 Monologue: My Review

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It’s difficult to dominate the Oscar monologue, especially amidst a stuffy bunch waiting with baited breath to hear their win . . . or loss. Plus, the event has been marred by the very obvious absence of black actors from the main acting categories, and while many suggested that a boycott might be the best bet, Chris Rock delivered a funny, on-point monologue instead. According to Rock, an actress like Jada Pinkett Smith “boycotting the Oscars is like [him] boycotting Rihanna’s panties. [He] wasn’t invited!” Rock addressed things more frankly when he said that although Hollywood isn’t “cross-burning” racist, they are “sorority racist. We like you Rhonda — but you’re not a Kappa.’” He pointed out this observation when he met President Obama at a Hollywood fundraiser and said that the room is filled with “the nicest people on earth” and “they don’t hire black people.” His only misstep involved a joke about how these types of exclusions have existed for years, but back then black people had “real things to protest,” and therefore were not concerned. Twitter predictably erupted at the idea that black people have real things to protest now, such as police brutality. Rock’s point was obviously that the anger is misplaced on a stupid golden statue rather than real issues at hand, which is further evidenced by his joke that the “In Memoriam segment would feature  a montage of black people shot by cops on their way to the movies.” So pipe down type-happy trolls. Clearly the man knows what’s going on.

It’s refreshing to see someone like Chris Rock use humor to shine a light on heavy issues and offer an interesting, on-point take we might not have thought of. In fact, I have a feeling we’ll be using the term “sorority racist” for a long time in the future. We all live our lives in a members-only club, whether we know it or not. We surround ourselves with what’s familiar, and as a result, we eliminate talented people from our pool. Until we are aware and consciously correct for this, we won’t change. And if anyone can make us aware, it’s Chris Rock.

Vintage Quote of the Day — Chris Rock Talks Chris Farley

“At the end of the sketch, the guy goes up to Farley and says, ‘You’re fat and disgusting.’ A lot of Farley’s problems were connected to the fact that he felt . . . ugly. That sketch kind of fed into that shit. I like Danny Devito. You know why I like Danny Devito? They never mention he’s short in any fucking movie. He’s like, ‘Fuck you. I’ll do your movie. Take this short shit out.’ There’s eight hundred things to make fun of. Why go to the obvious thing?” Chris Rock to Howard Stern, on why he hated Chris Farley’s most famous Chip & Dale’s sketch on Saturday Night Live.

Common & Maya Angelou Discuss the N-Word — So Does Chris Rock

When I saw the video of Common & Maya Angelou in a serious sit-down about using the N-Word, I found myself uncomfortable. That’s more about me than about them, considering I don’t deal well with emotional topics. So in an effort to address the same message with a sense of humor I’ve posted a vintage clip of Chris Rock discussing the same subject. Enjoy!

Chris Rock Tells Howard Stern How to Improve His Show

Every time I get frustrated with Howard Stern’s radio show I imagine myself having a personal conversation with Stern and telling him everything he needs to improve.  But I don’t have to — because Chris Rock does my dirty work.  Rock Called Stern’s show today and told Stern that his show “needs some improvements.”  Stern was quiet, presumably because he doesn’t take criticism well.  Rock wasn’t intimidated and said that if he’s going to take Friday’s off he should still have an original show on the air.  He also told him that the “unannounced Mondays have to fucking stop.”  Rock is referring to Stern’s incessant vacations, which Stern never announces.  It’s infuritating because you get into the car to go to work on a Monday morning, turn on your radio in anticipation of a new Howard Stern show, and you get dated, repeated crap instead.  When Stern said he would stay on the air if he could work less hours, Rock said, “you barely work now.”  Stern told Rock that Oprah does less hours than him and gets away with it, and Rock said that it’s a ridiculous comparison.  Way to go, Chris!