Will Smith made headlines Sunday after slapping comedian Chris Rock across the face at the Academy Awards and apologizing for the physical altercation during his Oscar acceptance speech for best actor.
Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes bald patches on the scalp. It can affect both men and women of all races. During one of his comedy skits, Rock took aim at Jada and her condition. At first, Will Smith appeared to laugh at the joke, but Jada was visibly uncomfortable with it. Her husband then took action by walking up to Rock and slapping him across the face.
Smith was awarded his first Oscar for his lead performance in the movie “King Richard,” where he played Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard.
His speech, however, wasn’t as celebratory as he might have envisioned because he spent much of his time explaining why he slapped Rock.
Midway through his speech, Smith revealed that Denzel Washington, himself an Academy Award-winning actor, warned him about the devil’s attacks. “Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, at your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you,” Smith recalled.
During an intermission that followed the slap, Tyler Perry and Washington were seen comforting and giving advice to Smith.
Although he didn’t apologize to Rock during his speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees.
“Love makes you do crazy things,” Smith said during his acceptance speech. The father of three compared himself to Richard Williams and how William fiercely defended his family.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world,” Smith said with tears streaming down his face.
“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people. And to be a river to my people. And I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and you’ve got be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK,” he continued.
In a previous interview with author, producer and preacher DeVon Franklin, Smith was asked if he is a “man of faith” like his character, Williams.
“You can’t get where I get if you don’t love the Lord. You don’t get to sit how I sit, move how I move, if you don’t love the Lord,” Smith replied. “You’d be seeing a whole lot of other repercussions.”
The actor said he connects with the faith of the Williams family because of his grandmother, who attended Resurrection Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
Much like his advice to Smith, Washington has been using his public platform to share the prominence of spiritual warfare in everyday life.
Washington, who described himself as “a God-fearing man” in an earlier interview with The New York Times, talked about God, the Bible and Heaven. He also revealed that he made a promise to his late mother to “honor her and God.”
“This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective. If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression,” he told the NY Times.
“We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed. What is the long or short-term effect of too much information? It’s going fast and it can be manipulated obviously in a myriad of ways. And people are led like sheep to slaughter,” Washington said.
The entertainer then shared his view of Heaven, explaining that “there are going to be two lines, the long line and the short line, and I’m interested in being in the short line.”
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