Chris Rock joked about Jussie Smollett: ‘What a waste of light skin’

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The NAACP Image Awards were held this weekend in LA. Sites like TMZ were making a big deal about how Jussie Smollett was nominated for an Image Award (the nominations came out before the likely-staged “attack”) and how Jussie flew from Chicago to LA to attend the awards. Jussie never showed up at the show, which means he either backed out at the last minute, or he was never planning on attending in the first place (and he just wanted to get out of Chicago). In any case, Jussie didn’t win the Image Award for supporting TV actor, and he didn’t show up at the non-televised Friday event nor did he come to the televised Saturday night event.

The host of the Image Awards was actually Anthony Anderson, who seemed to avoid talking about Jussie on-stage (I’m just going from reporting). Anderson did speak about Jussie ahead of the show, telling Variety that he hoped Jussie would attend and that “I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.” It seems like the producers of the Image Awards told Anderson and others not to make jokes about the Jussie situation, but Chris Rock – who was a presenter – decided to go off-script.

Rock said: “They said no Jussie Smollett jokes. I know. What a waste of light skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F—ing running Hollywood. What the hell was he thinking? From now on, you’re Jessie from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”

I mean… I’m not African-American. I’m not going to police what Rock says or how the African-American community feels about the entire Jussie Smollett debacle. I suspect that many black people feel the same way as non-black people: that it’s a complicated situation, that Jussie probably had a hand in staging the assault, but that the police completely overstepped and f–ked up the investigation. All in all, I didn’t think Chris Rock was even going hard after Jussie – those jokes were pretty mild considering all of the jokes that could have been made, you know? But people still had feelings about all of it, especially given that Rock appeared in a 2011 video – which went viral a few months ago – where he laughed when Ricky Gervais and Louis CK were using the n-word. So, yeah, people brought that up too:

There’s always a lot of talk about Cancel Culture and when people should be canceled and who deserves to be ignored. I still maintain that none of this is my fight or my place to chime in, nor is it the fight of any white or brown person. All of this is part of an internal conversation in the black community. It’s about the n-word, it’s about Jussie Smollett, it’s about a lot of things.

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65 Responses to “Chris Rock joked about Jussie Smollett: ‘What a waste of light skin’”

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  1. IlsaLund says:

    Chris Rock needs to sit down and be quiet. I’m glad Chris Rock is getting dragged. When I heard his in poor taste Jussie Smollef jokes, I immediately thought of Rock sitting there laughing and joking while his “white friends” said the N-word in his presence. Rock has yet to speak about that.

    • B n A fan says:

      Jessie needs to apologize, sit down and be quiet. It’s a shame he’s bringing his mother in his double down lies. IMO, if he don’t apologize his career will be over, Empire ratings was the lowest it has ever been. Most people hate liars, and thieves. He can strut around all he wants with his shades, but the Osandario’s brothers are doing great because they told the truth and now their business is booming, I know I’ll be taken apart for this comments, but it’s my opinion.

      • jules says:

        Agreed!

      • ByTheSea says:

        I think he’s done, regardless. No one will believe any “truth” that comes out of his mouth now. I hope he made good money during this Empire run, cause he’s done.

      • Sayrah says:

        Agreed

      • IlsaLund says:

        Agree that Jussie needs to sit down as well cause that stupid crap he pulled was all uncalled for. Still doesn’t let Chis Rock off though for that crap he did either…sitting there smiling and grinning while his white bros tossed the N-word around. They’re both wrong.

      • Susan says:

        Agree totally. Don’t like Chris Rock much but Jussie needs to be dragged for being a pathological liar and behaving as if he is holier than thou and even putting his dear mother into the mix

      • Catarina says:

        Completely agree!!! I HATE pathological, self aggrandizing liars, and he has just made REAL victims of hate crimes much less likely to be believed. There are REAL victims to his faked “hate crime”, and I consider his actions a crime for which he should be truly punished and condemned.

    • Muffy says:

      Chris Rocknis a grown man with agency and he can tolerate whatever he wants to tolerate from his friends.

    • isabelle says:

      As a mixed race person with lighter skin, I find that line hilarious.

      • Bella Bella says:

        I thought that line was hilarious too! Chris Rock can throw whatever shade he wants, as far as I am concerned. People should be calling Jussie out for his bs.

  2. WingKingdom says:

    I’m not black, and I agree that to an extent I need to stay out of the larger conversation. However, if Jussie staged the attack, those are not the actions of a man who is mentally well. I’m so uncomfortable with jokes about him, because I don’t think he did something intentionally evil like attack someone himself. I think he’s worthy of sympathy and space as his professional life crumbles. Rock should not be kicking a man who is already down.

    • Wow says:

      Well, i don’t care about that. If my black a** is ever attacked in a hate crime I’m significantly less likely to be believed and so are my children. Not to mention he fueled the MAGA monster and validated it.

      I’m getting pretty tired of all the sympathy he’s getting because there are real living breathing people who are going to be hurt by his actions for a long time.

      • BatMaam says:

        Right?! Like the only options are “evil” and “mentally unwell”? Jessie here tried to manipulate the system for his own gain, and in the process has made life difficult for actual victims. He’s a sh!t person.

      • Nlopez says:

        I agree 100% with WOW. Jussie made it even harder for Black people and Gay people to be believed.

      • elimaeby says:

        Wow, I agree 100%. He may very well be mentally ill. What good does that do for victims of future hate crimes?!

        I’m white, my boyfriend is black, and we live here in Chicago. The mood around this is volatile. It’s given racists more vigor, if anything. I worry about him every single day and I know if anything happens to him, he’s that much less likely to be believed.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree – I do imagine there’s some mental health issues happening there and I don’t want anyone to suffer that, but he really, really has done damage for all those who are victims of hate crimes. Things are bad enough already right now, and his actions made it so much worse.

      • VintageS says:

        I don’t think he’s mentally ill. He contrived and manipulated the situation then got caught.

        It reminds me off Morton Downey Jr. and his faked attack for promotional reasons. He said he was attacked by white supremacists because he was Jewish. The “supposedly” beat him up then drew swastikas with Marksalots on his forehead. Are you kidding me? Pigs like skinheads aren’t going to barely hurt you and then draw with a marking pen.

        This takes away from every real victim out there.

      • TabithaStevens says:

        Bingo. Jussie is a liar. Nothing else to say.

      • EditorM says:

        @Wow, total agreement! His greed made the burden heavier on everyone else. No sympathy.

      • Ksweet says:

        @Wow, I think this is the most compelling issue. If he had a hand in staging this, it will damage credibility in reporting hate crimes, at least in the short term. Totally unfair, but it will.

      • pinetree13 says:

        I hope if I’m ever caught doing shameless things for attention or other sh*tty behaviour people will jump all over themselves to excuse it as me being “mentally unwell” as well.
        Like I legit don’t think he’s mentally unwell. There was a clear motive. Attention.

        I really don’t get all the sympathy he’s getting. I reall don’t. I’m mad I believed him and defended him.

      • Mgsota says:

        100% agree. When I read that Yara (not sure of her last name) said “I stand with Jussie” I was like, girl, no.

    • isabelle says:

      eh…he is still lying about it. It was intentional and he still internationally lying.

    • Mariposa says:

      What mental illnesses would make someone concoct a fake attack, carry through with it, then lie about on a TV interview? I don’t think depression, bipolar or anxiety would make someone do that. I can see that someone with a personality disorder like a narcissist – might do it. But, I wouldn’t have any sympathy for a narcissist.

      Jussie seems to be fully in touch with reality; there were no ‘voices in his head’ that made him do it. He probably did it to be a victim and the centre of attention. I don’t think there is a lot of grey area here, even given Chicago PF’s behaviour. Jussie makes it so hard for ALL minority victims now.

  3. Darla says:

    I so agree. I remember back in the day (before most knew about the druggy-rapey stuff), Cosby was always shootin off his mouth. And conservative white men would begin sentences “Even Bill Cosby says.” and “Is Bill Cosby a racist too?” And I’d always say “fool, he’s not talking to you!”

    I always follow these conversations with interest, and of course I form my own opinions internally, somewhat anyway. But no one is talking to me, it’s not my place to pipe up, and shutting up is free.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      ITA. I learned a long time ago not to waste a good opportunity to shut up (I’m still learning that lesson TBH). However, I still think that something bad happened to Jussie. I believed him completely when it first dropped, and I still believe him more than I don’t. Of course, I was not there, but I’m not ready to dismiss his story until he comes forward and says it wasn’t true. (ETA or there is sufficient evidence to the contrary– for me it’s not sufficient yet)

      But as far as the fallout and how it affects POC, this is not my call to make.

      • lboogi says:

        It was -50 that night. No one was just up and walking around. It was so cold I let my husband smoke in the house, because frostbite could set in in minutes. Post office deliveries were cancelled for 2 days due to the cold. A grand jury felt there was enough to prosecute. Jussie lied. What backroom deals were done to get him off, I don’t know. But the man lied.

  4. Chaine says:

    I don’t understand why being called “Jessie” would be a putdown?

    • Desolee says:

      I took it as , i won’t make an effort to remember your slightly different/unique name, since you don’t matter you’re not worth the effort

    • Nicole says:

      Because his name is Jussie. Most people like their names to be pronounced correctly.

  5. Xi Tang says:

    I appreciate the spirit but Chris Rock needs to keep that same energy with white folks too.

    • Mia says:

      Oh yes, let’s see him crack a joke about Woody Allen, Weinstein, Singer …..won’t happen.

  6. HK9 says:

    Black woman here, unlike Jussie, Chris isn’t telling any lies here. (As a black woman I know how far light skin will get you in and outside of the black community. Unfortunately what he said it true) I was one of those people who kept saying, we’ve got to believe people when they come forward with stories of violence annnnd now look. I will continue to believe victims, but if Chris rock wants to go in on him gently (and he was gentle) imma sit back and watch.

    • B n A fan says:

      Thank you, totally agree.

    • Wow says:

      I feel like a lot of the white people with sympathy for Jussie can’t comprehend the gravity of what he did.

      Also black, also detected no lies.

    • DS9 says:

      Yeah, I’m biracial, I know that comes with a measure of privilege though it certainly isn’t an inoculation. And I’m not mad at Chris Rock. All of us are under the microscope. Jussie was/ is being a black, gay man in America.

      He took all those issues currently at play and attempted to use them for his own gain. Idk what game he was playing exactly and the CPS is all sorts of shady. Both those things can and are true at the same time.

      I’m not concerned with who believes who because people stay racists and bigots. But my friend did remind me that there are likely victims who will be even more reluctant to come forward because of Jussie. He can take a few soft jokes.

      • Wow says:

        @ds9 where as you may have a light skin privilege, even I as a dark skin woman have to regularly remind myself that biracial individuals don’t magically get 50% less racism. Unless you are white passing, black is black in the eyes of someone who wants to hurt you.

        Jussie hurt you and I equally as far as hurting real hate crime victims and emboldening MAGAats.

        I’m starting to take serious issue with all the white people excusing or reducing the seriousness of his actions. Having sympathy for Jussie or excusing what he did as if he’s “sick” doesn’t make you an ally. I’m seeing it right here on this site.

      • DS9 says:

        @wow, you’re preaching to the choir. My 17 year old son and I were verbally attacked by some heifer in a a subdivision who capped off her ranting with some racial slurs. All because my son and his twist out knocked on her door while fundraising for scouts.

        And then I get home a read about another child of color shot by a homeowner scared of brown skin.

        It’s a lot to take in some days.

        Also, I have a white passing daughter. I see how people look at her when she’s out with her brother. And one of the things a white passing friend of mine has warned me about is how demoralizing it is to hear racist commentary from people who don’t realize you’re of color and run their damned mouths.

        It’s a different kind of hurt but the harm is there anyway.

        I genuinely worry about my daughter dating one day and someone realizing she’s black and getting their white feelings hurt.

      • Wow says:

        @ds9 it has been a real learning curve for me to understand being light skinned isn’t a universal 50% less black pass. I grew up in an all black family. I did grow up in a white area where my experience with the black “community” was limited. My husband is black, but his family is basically the small world ride and NONE of them are immune from the system or racism.

        All that light skin I dreamt of growing up and “good hair” envy turns out wasn’t going to help me all that much. There is no sliding scale of blackness in the eyes of a racist. It’s important to remember that when discussing racism.

        Tensions could not be higher right now. I treated a white man with a MAGA hat last week who not only said “you’re not going to claim I beat ya up now, are ya sweetie?” Then proceeded to request a different doctor. Jokes on him, he was switched to a black male doctor and it was interesting because he didn’t feel as emboldened to taunt my male colleague, however our nurses who treated him who were Filipino and latina had similar experiences.

        Racism is alive and well, and the experience is exhausting regardless of your skin shade and I fracking HATE those MAGA hats. People just wear them to be provocative on purpose. No one is dumb enough to think its just a hat at this point.

      • lboogi says:

        This surge in bold hate is why I recently upgraded my security lighter. At this point you have no idea who’s going to try to come after you just for being black. It’s scary, and not the fear I thought I expected I would be experiencing at this age and time.

      • TabithaStevens says:

        @WOW – Bi-racial people think they are special but to white people they are just black. “There is no sliding scale of blackness in the eyes of a racist. It’s important to remember that when discussing racism.” AMEN.

    • VintageS says:

      Did you ever see a show called Frank’s Place? It was set in New Orleans and Tim Reid was the fish out of water Yankee that inherited his father’s restaurant.

      They did an episode where he was invited to join a prestigious black club. One of the waitresses held up a paper bag for the paper bag test when he talked about it. He ended up refusing the club because he said he was not going to be the token black IN a clubafter fighting racism all his life.

      Great show.

      • lboogi says:

        I remember that episode!
        My Mom was an AKA, and she used to say how rare it was (at the time) for her to have been accepted to join , because she was a darker woman.

      • Mia says:

        my mother went to an all black school but couldn’t try out for the cheerleading squad. She couldn’t pass the brown paper bag test. Unfortunately we still have people who are color struck and they’re not just elders but the younger generation.

      • maisie says:

        Spike Lee addressed the “self-directed racism with the African-American community” years ago in School Daze. The sitcom blackish did the same thing this season when daughter Diane was shadowed out of a school photo. This started a heated argument between all the members of the family, light and dark. It was an eye-opener. This happens in Latino communities, too, but not quite to this extent anymore ( however, my late beloved great aunt told me how she suffered terribly in LA schools because she was darker than the other Latino, Jewish, and Eastern European kids in her classes).

  7. jules says:

    Anyone who reads or watches the news is allowed to have an opinion.

    • TabithaStevens says:

      O.K. – I read and watch the news but must admit that I do not have experience in every subject or situation.

  8. Helen says:

    black woman here:
    f-ck lyin’ ass jessie, f-ck light-skin privilege, f-ck chris rock and f-ck the racist+corrupt ass chicago police department.

    also, f-ck r.kelly, bill cosby and michael jackson, for extra good measure.

    • Patty says:

      LOL. Right. Anywho, not surprised by Rock’s comments; I would have been more surprised if he hadn’t said anything. Multiple things can truth at once; most blacks people I know believe that Jussie is lying, that the Chicago PD is hella bad, and that the outrage over the dismissal is over the top and disproportionate. Believing that Jussie is guilty is not a free pass for the CPD. Believing the outrage is over the top is not to suggest that a certain amount of outrage is warranted. Also, because it can’t be said enough black peoples aren’t a monolith.

      • lboogi says:

        Amen!

      • TabithaStevens says:

        ‘and that the outrage over the dismissal is over the top and disproportionate.’ Nope. Everyone I know believes that Jussie should get he** that he deserves.

  9. cate says:

    jussie is a scumbag pure and simple. the man has no integrity, moral compass or sense of dignity. he is garbage and he needs to go away already. so disgusting

  10. Veronica S. says:

    He can be right about how f*cked up Jussie’s behavior was and still have problematic shit in his own history. There’s a problem with Internet cancel culture where it sets up a false moral dichotomy where you’re either completely right on all issues or wrong on everything. There’s no space to learn. People really need to stop throwing that notion around like it’s a productive approach to anything.

  11. Lala11_7 says:

    Jussie ain’t made it harder for Black folks to be believed…Black folks ain’t NEVA been believed regarding the power structure and racism…so folks need to stop acting brand new about that…

    And Chris Brown ain’t nobody’s ally…including Black folks…which is why when I see him hosting something…I don’t even bother to watch….

    • Xi Tang says:

      Thanks Lala!
      The disrespect for Chris Rock’s name lol

      • Mash says:

        Xi Tang —- Chris Rock disrespected himself when he was filmed allowing whitemen to toss around the n-word. So please keep the same energy with all the chrises

      • Xi Tang says:

        @mash huh? I think you and I are in agreement

    • Marty says:

      Thank you!!! You hear about that black woman in Dallas? A white man pulled a gun on her, punched her 5 times, it was FILMED, and he got to go free that night. He wasn’t even booked on felony charges.

    • DS9 says:

      No but he may have made it harder for victims to feel comfortable reporting crimes

  12. Marty says:

    This Smollett thing really is a bat signal for MAGA commentors, huh?

    More than one thing can be true. Jussie could’ve lied, the CPD is still a clusterfu** of corruption, AND Chris Rock has a history of punching down on black folks while letting his friends say derogatory stuff about us.

    Remember his Oscar comments about Jada Pinkett Smith? He had no problems punching down with her, but #oscarssowhite actually brought about real change in the academy.

    And Jessie Smollett single-handedly made it harder for victims to be believed? Give me a fuc*king break! If what happened with Smollett makes it harder for you to believe victims, you were already inclined not to, to begin with.

  13. h3Rh1GHN3SS says:

    colorism is alive and well. many people use it to their benefit. Jessie forgot how much privilege he has & got chin checked BIG TIME.

  14. h3Rh1GHN3SS says:

    good looking ppl ususally get over in life, not this time Jessie!