This whole Slap situation is really a mess to sort through!
After non-stop Slap coverage over the past few days, you probably know most of the story already. But let’s recap: Chris Rock (who has made fun of Jada Pinkett Smith on the Oscars stage before, and has a mixed history when it comes to Black women’s hair) made a joke while presenting an award about Jada’s shaved head (which she styled because of losing her hair to alopecia) looking like “GI Jane 2.” Jada rolled her eyes HARD, looking very displeased. Cameras caught Will Smith laughing at the joke at first, but something shifted (off-screen) and he got up on the stage and slapped Chris.
Now there’s another wrinkle in the story: a viral TikTok (below) shows video footage from the audience behind the Smiths right after the slap. As Will walks away, Chris exclaims:
“Wow! … Will Smith just slapped the s**t out of me.”
After he says it, Jada’s body can be seen rocking forward, seemingly in laughter. (A lot of the audience is laughing along at that point — as we know, many assumed that it was a planned bit before Will began yelling for the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”)
When Chris recovers from the awkward moment by calling it “the greatest night in the history of television,” Jada can be seen nodding forward slightly and raising her hands, perhaps with another laugh or just in acknowledgment — it’s hard to say.
So, does the actress’ reaction change anything about our perception of the event? Here are some of the TikTok comments:
“First Jada is mad then Jada is laughing…”
“Oh now she laughs????”
“Did Jada think it was a joke too?”
“Jada laughing because she didn’t know it was real. Became apparent that it was after Will yelled.”
“I don’t get how people think this was actually real”
“THIS is the angle I’ve been waiting for. Why is Jada laughing and not even looking at Will when he’s screaming?! I would b freaking out “
Now, we cannot possibly know what was going on in anyone’s heads during that moment. But to answer that last question, our best guess regarding Jada’s reactions is that she was simply in shock. As far as we can tell, Will didn’t consult her or give any indication about what he was about to do, so she was likely as surprised as the rest of us.
Many have pointed out that Will’s initial laugh at the “G.I. Jane” joke could have been out of pure politeness, or came from being uncomfortable in the moment — so perhaps Jada laughing afterwards was the same thing. Emotions were obviously running high, and things spun out of control fast. She may have been reacting without even processing what she was seeing or hearing. Plus, she was well aware that it was all playing out in front of Hollywood and the world, so she was just as likely trying to keep herself together for appearances’ sake.
Given that the couple is famous for laying everything out (especially on her show Red Table Talk), we have a feeling they will eventually let us know exactly what they were thinking during those fateful moments. Until then, we think that the most accurate summary of the situation came from Will’s post before anything even went down:
“Me ‘n @jadapinkettsmith got all dressed up to choose chaos”
What do U think, Perezcious readers? Does this new angle alter your view of The Slap at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments (below).
[Image via ABC/CBS/YouTube]