In less than two weeks, the board of directors of the Motion Picture Academy will meet to decide what will happen to Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock on the Oscar stage.
Smith has tried to get out ahead of the fallout, resigning from the Academy and issuing an online apology to Chris Rock. But Netflix has pushed back a project they were working on with Smith. And a sequel to Smith’s Bad Boys series is now on the shelf, as well.
Still, that’s not enough for Chris Rock’s brother. He wants to see Will Smith stripped of his best actor Oscar, and he said so in the Los Angeles Times.
“It eats at me watching it over and over again because you’ve seen a loved one being attacked and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kenny Rock told the Times. “Every time I’m watching the videos, it’s like a rendition that just keeps going over and over in my head.”
“My brother was no threat to him and you just had no respect for him at that moment,” he added. “You just belittled him in front of millions of people.”This is about more than the slap, though. It’s about what happens when Black men come up against white systems. In the criminal justice system, we are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged, and more likely to face longer sentences. And fame doesn’t matter. Once we’re marked, we can never wipe off the stench of public disapproval. Don’t believe me? Just ask Bill Cosby.
That’s why a convicted sex offender like Roman Polansky, who fled the country rather than go to jail for raping a 13-year-old, can win an Oscar as a child molester, and Will Smith could have his taken away when he hasn’t been arrested or tried.
I just hope that for once for a Black man, the punishment is not worse than the crime.