Will Smith Wins Best-Actor Oscar, Shortly After Slapping Chris Rock
After the slap seen around the world, the Fresh Prince was proclaimed King. Will Smith was voted the champion in the best-actor race, taking home the trophy for his performance as Richard Williams—father and tennis teacher to tennis phenoms Serena and Venus Williams—in the biopic King Richard.
Earlier in the evening, Will Smith stunned audiences within and outside of the Dolby Theatre by storming the stage to hit presenter Chris Rock in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith. In a sad address, Smith indirectly referenced the slap, opening with, “Richard Williams was a staunch defender of his family.”
He continued: “In this period in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this video, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate persons I’ve ever encountered. I got to guard Saniyya and Demi , the two actors who played Venus and Serena. I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect individuals. And to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse you gotta be able to have people talk wild about you. In this industry you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. And you gotta grin and you gotta pretend like that’s okay.”