Willow Smith Explains Why Will Smith's Oscars Slap 'Didn't Rock' Her Too Badly

The singer is breaking her silence on her father's infamous confrontation with Chris Rock at the awards show.
Willow Smith and Will Smith
Willow Smith and Will Smith
Future Publishing via Getty Images

On the long list of ways your parents could embarrass you, slapping Chris Rock on the Oscars stage in front of millions of viewers would rank pretty high, you’d think.

But Willow Smith seems relatively at peace with her father Will Smith’s infamous outburst, breaking her silence in her first public comments since the awards show earlier this year.

Speaking with Billboard for an interview, Willow reflected on the public reaction to the incident, which she said “didn’t rock me as much as my own internal demons.”

“I see my whole family as being human, and I love and accept them for all their humanness,” she told the outlet. “Because of the position that we’re in, our humanness sometimes isn’t accepted, and we’re expected to act in a way that isn’t conducive to a healthy human life and isn’t conducive to being honest.”

Since the ceremony, Willow, who attended the Vanity Fair Oscars 2022 afterparty at her father’s side, has kept quiet about Will’s actions apart from a pair of cryptic tweets.

“The meaning of life is found in challenge,” she wrote in one tweet days after the show. “Life is a series of reactions,” she wrote in another.

Late last month, Will Smith broke his own monthslong silence regarding the incident with a video statement, in which he once again expressed regret for slapping Chris over a joke he made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss.

“There is no part of me that thinks that was the optimal way to handle feelings of disrespect or insults,” Smith said in the nearly six-minute video. “I will say to you, Chris, I apologise to you. My behaviour was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

The actor went on to directly apologise to his family for “the heat that I brought on all of us,” while clarifying that Jada had “nothing to do” with his decision-making.

“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences and my history with Chris,” Will said.

In the wake of the slap, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned the King Richard star from attending its official events, including the awards ceremony, for the next decade.

Jada also publicly addressed the slap during an episode of her Red Table Talk show, in which she urged Rock to reconcile with her husband.

“My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile,” she said. “The state of the world today? We need them both, and we all actually need one another more than ever.”

Chris, however, has reportedly “moved on” from the incident and “doesn’t need to talk,” an unidentified source told People.

“This is clearly something that bothers Will more than Chris. Will needs to deal with his issues,” the source said. “Chris is fine.”


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