Chris Rock has been making Jada Pinkett Smith a punchline since 1997

There’s a big story on People Magazine about Chris Rock’s Thursday night show at The Wilbur in Boston, and how Rock once again didn’t really address the Oscars slap. Apparently, someone in the audience shouted “f–k Will Smith” and Rock shut it down and said “No, no, no, no, no…” Sure. All that tells me is that Rock is still waiting to see what happens next, and he might even be waiting for a call from Denzel Washington or some other kind of peacemaker within the community. It also tells me that Rock has always been more comfortable talking sh-t about Jada specifically, not Will. Speaking of:

The tension leading up to the Oscars slap has actually been lingering for over a decade. As folks on social media have been sleuthing around Chris Rock’s history with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, an old clip of the comedian flaming Pinkett Smith has resurfaced. It’s not just the Oscars quips in 2016 and 2022—this beef extends all the way back to 1997.

The digs are from The Chris Rock Show, which aired on HBO for five seasons back in the late ‘90s. In October of 1997—right before Will and Jada tied the knot, and rather coincidentally, right after G.I. Jane premiered—Rock was underway with Season 2 of his late-night talk show when he took aim at the bride-to-be.

“Million Women March was on last week in Philadelphia. I talked to Ice Cube, he called it ‘Bitches by the Bell,’” Rock says in the clip, earning a wave of boos from his live audience. “I didn’t say it! Ice Cube said it. And Too Short said it too!”

After a joke about women not wanting to wear the same clothes, Rock begins his roast of Jada: “You know, at the Million Women March, there were moving speeches from people like Maxine Waters, Winnie Mandela, and here are some inspirational words from the lovely Jada Pinkett.”

Rock proceeds to cut to a clip of a young Jada Pinkett at the march. “I am here today,” she proclaims, “because this is an act of power, women. Okay?” With that, Pinkett’s activism is whittled down to a joke, in which she yells the lyrics to “The Roof Is on Fire” instead of her speech. “Burn motherf—er, burn!” fake Jada yells to the crowd. (Not even close to her real speech.)

The Million Women March took place in late October 1997, in which around half a million people took to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Women of the march focused on advocating for African American women in America, led by Phile Chionesu and aided by big names like Maxine Waters, Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, and Jada Pinkett Smith (then Jada Pinkett).

So, the Oscars tease wasn’t an isolated moment in the Chris Rock/Smith family feud. We already knew this, though: Rock picked at Jada during the 2016 Oscars, once again over her activism. When the actress decided to boycott the event over #OscarsSoWhite, Rock took it as an opportunity for snark. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” he said, hosting the night’s events. “I wasn’t invited.”

[From The Daily Beast]

What struck me back in 2016 is the same thing that strikes me now about the 2016 Oscars So White joke – he targeted Jada and not Will, even though they had made it clear that they were boycotting together, as a Black Hollywood Power Couple. Rock could have made a joke about Jada AND Will, but he chose to target her specifically. Same with the 1997 mess – out of all the Black women at the march, he singled out Jada. One thing I believed from that People Magazine cover story was that Will asked Chris years ago to keep Jada’s name out of his mouth.

Photos courtesy of Instar, Avalon Red.

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132 Responses to “Chris Rock has been making Jada Pinkett Smith a punchline since 1997”

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  1. Erin says:

    Having known that these three have known each other for years now and that Jada and Chris worked together on the Madagascar movies my first thought when I heard about what Will did was that there had to be some history or something simmering for years behind it.

    • Michael says:

      I am not sure but I heard they dated briefly and it ended badly. It seems Chris has had a beef with her for decades about something. Maybe that was it

    • MissMarirose says:

      I don’t think actors really “work together” in most animated movies, though. They typically record their lines separately, not together in the studio.

      • JennaR says:

        That’s what I was thinking as well. Even during the promotional events, actors don’t necessarily hang out as friends.

      • Erin says:

        Maybe not all the time but sometimes they do. I’ve seen behind the scenes footage from animated movies where the actors were together in the recording studio and it’s wasn’t just for the “behind the scenes” extras like Disney likes to do that’s very obviously staged. Who knows about these movies though, maybe they never saw each other during production but I know they were together during premieres with their families and they even shouted out to each other through SM during that time and afterwards. And since I don’t really keep up with CR or The Smith’s I thought that there might be more history that I don’t even know about. I guess I’m just saying these weren’t two perfect strangers who never had come into contact with each other.

    • Rice says:

      There are rumours that Rock made the same (or similar) joke about Jada at the rehearsal. Apparently, Will and Jada heard it and asked him to stop. He allegedly agreed but then, well, we all saw/heard what happened at the actual show. Again, this is the talk that’s going around. There’s also talk that Rock may have tried to have date Jada but she turned him down, and he’s been bitter ever since a la Piers Morgan.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      how much do you want to bet that Jada rejected Rock at some point…

      • Sophia’s Side Eye says:

        I’ve been thinking it was this the whole time. There’s a vid out there of the Chris Rock show where he had Jada on. Chris seemed very salty about Will Smith because he said something like, thank you for not mentioning Will even once. He was also being overly touchy, in my opinion.

      • vs says:

        @GrnieWnie — I had the exact same thought… that all this history is coming to the surface, Chris Rock is like a man who has been rejected by a woman he continues to fancy and was unable to move on from that rejection!!!!

  2. Brooke says:

    Still assault. I understand being upset or wanting to protect someone. Chris Rock made a disrespectful joke. He’s made jokes in the past. That still doesn’t make what happened right.

    • NorthernGirl_20 says:


      • Tanesha86 says:

        You know what, Black women are tired of the disrespect. We’re tired of being the butt of the thinly veiled misogynoir masquerading as jokes. He should’ve got his face rearranged years ago for all the disparaging crap he’s said about us over the years. I hope he gets pooped again the next time he’s out of line

      • Trina says:

        What Tanesha said.

      • girl_ninja says:

        You and Brooke can go help Chris process his feelings. Maybe he’ll bring Louis C.K. and his other misogynist women abusing buddies with him.

        Maybe you can all go on a picnic. 😒

      • Lemons says:

        Thank you, Tanesha. We’re tired. And the sanctimonious virtue of some still doesn’t change that I think Chris got what he deserved, and I’m glad it was done on live television since he couldn’t seem to take the hint in private. F— around and find out. And anyone else who keeps disrespecting us can catch these hands since our words don’t seem to be doing the job.

      • Catlady says:

        I highly recommend listening to the Into America interview with Jamira Burley. She gives a really nuanced breakdown of the situation.

    • Delph says:

      It’s mental assault vs physical assault
      We don’t take harassment seriously and we expect people to behave when they are assaulted verbally or mentally.
      I do not excuse physical violence but Chris isn’t innocent either

      • Bettyrose says:

        @Delph. Well said. I haven’t been able to put words to why the slap doesn’t bother me. You’ve clarified it. The Oscars themselves are an act of violence. Who gets silenced by lack of recognition. Whose boobs get joked about in song. How many have walked away from that spectacle over the decades nursing internal wounds?

        Jane Campion should have been removed from contention after her verbal assault on Venus and Serena. Instead she was given an Oscar.

      • MissMarirose says:

        This. The “joke” at Jada’s expense wasn’t even the only misogynistic attack that night. Rock make a joke at Penelope Cruz’s expense, suggesting she’s a harridan who would be upset if her partner won and she didn’t. And then later on, Amy Shuemer made that “seat filler” joke at Kirsten Dunst’s expense.

        Of course, physical assault is bad but it’s disconcerting the number of people willing to excuse all these “jokes” at the expense of women who worked hard to get to the top of their profession, only to be reduced to “the wife.”

    • Xoxo says:

      No one is saying it’s right. People are just being given a better understanding of Will’s frame of mind.; that he wasn’t just him randomly losing his shit.
      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Chris Rock has been problematic when it comes to black women.
      For those talking about his Good Hair documentary, that was not as inspirational as some people think, IMHO. He made it seem like only black women wear weaves, he interviewed none of the other races about their consumption of “Indian Hair”. Etc. Blah

      • WithLove says:

        It was a “mockumentary” imo.
        The aim wasn’t to educate, it was to humiliate.
        I feel so sorry for his daughters.

      • HelloDolly! says:

        I said a more expletive-filled comment yesterday that was deleted (LOL), but yes, f-ck Chris Rock. It was clear that he had done this before and was specifically dragging a black woman about her hair/illness for some sexist POS bullying. I honestly wonder what his beef is all about. Is it possible she said no to him, romantically? Or maybe she put him in his place, and he didn’t like it?

        (I corrected a man I work with for some sexist over-questioning of women during interviews, and now he tries anything he can to passive aggressively criticize me or make me look bad, even years later.)

      • Kitten says:

        I’ve never seen the full movie but I’ve been watching clips of Good Hair on Twitter, shared by WOC and woooooo boy. It’s bad. It basically just seems like a movie meant to shame black women for spending too much money and time on their hair like WTF.

      • Trina says:

        Kitten thank you for your thoughtful comments yesterday. I wanted to say that I see you.

    • FHMom says:

      This is how the police justify brutality. They say the victim has a record a mile long. It’s character assasination.

    • WithLove says:

      Who said it did?

      • Xoxo says:

        Thatsnotokay- No it doesn’t. Will is from an abusive home too.
        If he doesn’t understand facial cues, he has been TOLD. He understands words.
        For years, I remember him telling Oprah she looks like a slave in her childhood pics because of how her hair was done.
        I remember him doubting the length of Oprah’s hair was real, and running his fingers through it to make sure.
        We are tired of this man!

      • Tanesha86 says:

        @thatsnotokay so the old hurt people hurt people argument is what we’re going for? I’m not interested. Lots of people come from abusive homes, I grew up in an abusive home but I didn’t turn out to be a bully like Chris so please spare us

    • girl_ninja says:

      Thanks for completely looking over the abuses Chris Rock has thrown all over Jada and black women as a whole. Why don’t you and your ilk go run along and help Chris “process” what happened.

    • JP says:

      Yep, still assault and still victim blaming if we go find every time Chris made a Jada joke as a reason for getting slapped.

    • Jessica says:

      He didn’t press charges and didn’t want Will removed. Next!

    • Taenerys says:

      Thank you, Tanesha! We are tired of Chris Rock. He is a bully!

      • Nan says:

        Thank you, Tanesha! I’ll take a man who stands up for a woman any day over a man who likes to make unfunny mean jokes about a woman.

    • gingerbee says:

      Amen Tanesha

      • Skittlebrau says:

        Yup. I’m with you, Tanesha. I’m not going to lose sleep over a grown man getting slapped across the face by another grown man for disrespecting his wife in public. Men like Rock have been making Black women the butt of jokes for decades and we’re all just expected to laugh and take it.

    • susan says:

      I’m really really tired of hearing this. CHRIS ROCK’S ATTACKS ON JADA PINKETT-SMITH ARE VERBAL ABUSE. It’s disgusting to keep hearing people defend him, like, what he said wasn’t really that bad. the man has been beating up on JPS for YEARS. He had it coming.

  3. chill says:

    There is no condoning the assault. However, maybe it is time for male comedians to stop making comments about women’s bodies or health. They. Are. Not. Funny.
    Isn’t the purpose to be funny? Whey can’t this be done without insulting women? No, Chris, you were not funny. And the comment about 4 white guys. Not funny either.

  4. Izzy says:

    Chris Rock has been behaving like a rejected incel when it comes to Jada.

    • Merricat says:

      Chris Rock is a textbook misogynist. He bullied JP for 25 years, but that’s inconsequential?

      • LaraW" says:

        And we’re only seeing what he’s said in public. If he feels that comfortable maligning and smearing her character, her work, her activism for the past 25 years, I can guarantee you he’s said a lot worse behind closed doors.

        What do we always say on this site? When people show you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.

    • Lizzie says:

      Curious if Jada is the only woman he takes cheap shots at?

      • Izzy says:

        No, but his history of taking shots at Jada goes way back, including her activism and feminism. He’s a complete misogynist, and while I do not condone the assault, it’s completely disingenuous for him to act all shocked that someone finally went for him to shut him the h e l l up. Women should not have to tolerate this abuse, period. And black women have had to put up with more than their fair share of abuse about their hair. Chris Rock is a creep. Jada was humiliated in front of MILLIONS over a medical condition that is publicly and well documented. And we have yet to hear an apology from Chris Rock for being such an ahole about it. He doesn’t CARE about his misogyny, it’s perfectly acceptable to him. So while I don’t condone the assault, I have no sympathy for Rock either.

      • Lady D says:

        Oh I’m sure he has.

  5. Roseberry says:

    I’ve recently seen a clip from The Graham Norton show here in the UK, with Rock making fun of Michelle Obama and Beyoncé. He describes Michelle as having better hair once she became FLOTUS, because she wears track weaves and described how they’re attached. He then went on to talk about Beyoncé’s lace wigs and how funny that she can do an advertisement for shampoo wearing a wig. I must say the sight of a black man publicly humiliating 2 black women with 2 white men sitting alongside him laughing their heads off made my blood boil!

    • sunny says:

      Chris Rock has been coming for black women for awhile. His humour reeks of misogynoir. I really hope that we get more critical pieces on that part of the story.

    • WithLove says:

      Remember Oprah? And how shocked he was that she wore her own hair, like how ignorant is he.
      He had his nasty hands and fingers all over her scalp. That finally shut him up.
      You would think he was raised by wolves.
      But hey, that’s how he makes his money. Must follow script; always degrade and abuse black women at all times, at all costs.

    • Trina says:

      He hates black women. I feel very sorry for his daughters. Mess.

      • Ameerah says:

        Well one of his daughters he didn’t even want to pay child support for. He said because she was adopted she wasn’t his biologically and so he shouldn’t have to pay support for her. So of you want to know what kind of father he is…

    • ChillinginDC says:

      Look as a black woman, a black man making fun of your hair is them saying how you are not beautiful, attractive, it’s them attacking you for not being “white” in some cases. Most of Rocks’ critiques about Black women are they don’t have long hair, or if it is not long, it looks nappy, and terrible. The number of Twitter threads about Black women hair and all the maintenance that goes along with it if it’s natural or relaxed are numerous.

      • Kitten says:

        This is why I think it’s violence. People want to distill it down to one singular incident between two celebs but it’s a whole-ass HISTORY of degradation and mockery.

        “The number of Twitter threads about Black women hair and all the maintenance that goes along with it if it’s natural or relaxed are numerous.”

        Ironically, curly-haired WW infiltrated a lot of the black hair forums just to steal tips on how to protect and maintain their own hair. Just dropped right in to take that labor.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        Thank you Kitten.

      • detritus says:

        We’ve moved past the idea that abuse can only be physical, but when it is outside of a domestic relationship apparently verbal assaults are ok.

        It says something that our society and culture is okay participating in misogynoir, promoting men who cannot stop putting women down, that none of that is shocking or traumatizing.

        But a man hitting another man after years of verbal harassment and hate speech in a public platform, that’s upsetting.

    • Haylie says:

      Rock’s whole comedy schtick is attacking black people, especially women, for the entertainment of whites. Go back and watch his 1997 HBO comedy special and you will clearly see who it is for. He made it ok for white people to openly say they hate ni**ers. I was a Senior in high school in a predominately white city when it came out and the way racist whites would quote him was disgraceful.

      • Charlie Pepper says:

        I know the special you’re talking about. If ANYONE heard that and thought it was okay to use that slur or say they hate black people, hate to break it to you but they ALREADY thought it was okay.

  6. girl_ninja says:

    Ugh. Chris is hateful and attacks black women every chance he gets and LOVES to spread his disrespect to any white audience that will listen and cackle.

    • PaulaH says:

      He’s garbage. The bottom-line is she attended an award show as a guest of her husband. She didn’t attend Chris Rock’s stand-up comedy show. There is a difference. As a guest of a nominee why would anyone feel the need to make jokes about her? Would he make jokes about Will’s mother if she attended? Chris had an agenda and he got bitch slapped in the process. Next time 100% certain he will just read the teleprompter and save his jokes for his standup show or if he is hosting the event. 100% certain he won’t be making jokes about a person’s physical appearance; that is NEVER funny. Comedians are very insecure, so they make jokes at the expense of others to make themselves feel better.

  7. A n B fn says:

    That what I have been saying from the beginning of this debacle, there was something more to this slap. Now I can see there might have been bad blood between them, because that joke was nothing to slap someone over. Also, I’ve seen Jada with short and long hair for years, she looks beautiful either way. Also everyone was saying he disrespected Jada over her alopecia. He never mentioned alopecia in that joke. I know you cannot assume because you see a woman with a shaved head they have alopecia that was just silly.
    Will needs to learn to control his impulse without using his hands on anyone.
    I’m just staying on topic, I’m not going to bring anyone else in this topic, what they did or did not do years ago.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      For the final time, please stop minimizing the damage and hurt a black woman feels with losing her hair. Jada is not rocking a shaved head by choice. Her hair, which has always been thick luscious and easily managed, had fallen out in patches. She is bald because she had to cut her hair off. It doesn’t matter if you think she looks beautiful. She did not choose to wear this hairstyle by choice. She chose it because of necessity. We don’t care that you all think GI Jane is inspirational. The woman was insulted because of a medical condition that she has no control over. I am so tired of hearing “but she looks beautiful”. She doesn’t care. Because when it happened to her she was devastated and it took her a year or two to process it, to come to terms with it. What is so hard about understanding that she and many other women do not find alopecia to be not a big deal because “you look so cool or are rocking that bald head” now. And I don’t believe Chris when he says he didn’t know. The man seems to keep up with everything Jada does, so there’s no doubt he knew she had alopecia. He just didn’t care that it hurt her feelings because he’s been slagging on her for decades.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        Thank you. I am tired of people acting like he didn’t know. He did. That man is always ready to go after her about any little thing. He ad-libbed a joke to go at her. You all are telling me he noticed her sitting there and said oh she’s bald let’s do a joke about that?

        Also, as someone more eloquent than me pointed out, he could have made fun of Will. Why go after Jada? He always goes after her, not him. Black men to black men that would have been punching up at Will and not punching down at Jada.

      • Kiki says:

        People who are devastated by the slap are the same ones who lose their sh-t when ghettos explode over police violence. The tragedy is not the broken windows. It’s the decades of abuse.

      • PaulaH says:

        @Kiki: The mob wants blood (and by mob, I mean Karens) and the only thing that will satisfy their thirst is JAIL

    • cinnamon says:

      I disagree. The joke was “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” He is implying that the shaved head does not look good because he cannot imagine anyone choosing this hairstyle unless a movie role forces them too. The most common association people will have with GI Jane is the military and thus masculinity and butchness. So what he ends up doing here is questioning her femininity as well as inviting people to laugh at her bald head because the baldness is at the centre of this “joke”. This would have been bad even if Jada did not have alopecia. Also Chris Rock knew in advance that he would be presenting at the Oscars so the responsibility to prepare properly and potentially google some things falls on him.

      • Kate says:

        Thanks for breaking it down for the people being willfully dense acting like that was some kind of compliment about how “badass” she looks. I’ll say it again, if a man points out something about your appearance then laughs he’s making fun of you. It doesn’t matter if you objectively look great, the point is to take you down a notch by getting other people to laugh at you.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    I didn’t realise that there is a long history of him behaving like this toward Jada and given the way he’s behaved/spoken about his ex’s makes me think she turned him down. His attacks on her seems to be personal.

    • Lux says:

      Rock’s history of putting down black women in general and Jada in particular does provide context. Doesn’t excuse any of it but it does help me personally understand why Will snapped and why so many women didn’t mind seeing his “comeuppance.” I do believe there were years of underlying tension and we won’t ever know the true backstory (my guess is also that Jada rejected him because she’s a feminist and wasn’t going to put up w his bs).

      As for the 2016 joke, it made sense that he only targeted Jada because Will would’ve been invited to the Oscars no matter what, so that joke could never fly with him in it.

  9. MsIam says:

    My first thought about this was it was a stunt. After that I figured this was a beef with history, so not surprised to learn this. I bet even more will come out later. It could be why Chris hasn’t said much either. At any rate, I’m sure there are regrets all around, especially from Will.

  10. grabbyhands says:

    BUt It wAS a JOkE!

    But srsly, if I hear this as an excuse one more time I’m going to scream. I honestly cannot believe the number of people still caping for this assh*le. He doesn’t get a pass for years of sexist bullshit against black women (and any other targets he can punch down on ) because people think he’s funny. Being a comedian doesn’t make it okay and it has been fucking unreal to watch the comedy world to continue to close ranks behind jackasses like him.

  11. eb says:

    Words hurt and slaps hurt. Which hurts worse? Which has more long lasting damage? Why do we laugh at words that hurt? Why do we pay people to make us laugh at cruelty? Why are we surprised when one cruelty spawns another?

    Humans are animals. Animals have instincts. Why do we pretend that our will to be civilized is invulnerable? Why do we allow it to be tested all the time? Why do we assume that we all have the same strength of will?

    • Moira's Rose's Garden says:

      Roxanne Gay wrote an opinion piece on defense of thin skin.

      • Xoxo says:

        BeBoop – you’re misunderstanding my comment. I’m saying there is no comparison between what Will did and what the police do because they should do better. Their justification is nothing like what we’re saying about Will. It’s a reach to compare the two.

    • Emma says:

      Exactly. Why is “comedy” exploiting racist and sexist stereotypes still okay? (Chris Rock had a bit at the Oscars where he mocked Asian-American children just a few years ago.) Isn’t there anything else besides cruelty that anyone can find to enjoy and entertain them in life?

  12. amy says:

    I love how we are reaching to get Will an out. I will say i love reading celebitchy and have done it for years, but the way this topic has been discussed has made me disappointed. The whole certain people can’t have an opinion because they are not black us getting old to. if someone does something on a broad public form, everyone has a right to talk about it.

    • Tanesha86 says:

      The reason we have been asking white people to tread carefully when weighing in on this situation is because there are very complicated layers that y’all are simply not equipped to navigate competently because you don’t live the experience that we as Black people and more specifically Black women do. There’s nuance to it that y’all don’t seem to grasp and that’s why y’all keep making such ignorant comments. If you’re frustrated imagine how frustrated WE are

      • Bri W. says:

        Amen, Tanesha. Amen.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        Thank you. Not one Black person has said he should have slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. What we are doing is giving that man a moment of grace cause he’s not done anything out of pocket as we like to say like that ever. And we are calling out the hypocrisy as even Stephen Colbert did last night with the Academy and their BS consequences.

      • Debbie says:

        That puts it rather well, I think. And Ameerah is correct too. But I must say that rarely do stories bring out comments from everyone, including people long thought dead who feel they just must weigh in. From people changing the slap into a punch or Judd Apetow saying that Will could have “killed” C. Rock. (I don’t recall J. Apetow making any comment when Alec Baldwin’s actions resulted in a woman actually being killed on set.) Once again, no need to exaggerate what happened at the Oscars, the facts are unfortunate enough. I’ve also noticed someone who felt the need to forestall any criticism of their comment by putting up a suspiciously blurry photo of a Black woman as their icon in PREVIOUS POSTS about this topic. (Not referring to anyone on this present post). Also, the absolute “sanctimony” (as stated above) coming from people who have long benefited from protection from the establishment is quite ironic.

      • emma says:

        Thank you Tanesha! Exactly.

      • CommentingBunny says:

        @ChillinginDC: What we are doing is giving that man a moment of grace

        Beautifully put. It is starting to remind me of the coverage around terrorist acts, where white guys ‘snap’ but POC are painted as acting out of some sort of character defect.

        What I’m hearing is that Will Smith has earned that moment of grace for his mistake; Chris Rock has not.

        I’m a middle aged white woman, and still don’t fully understand the layers here. So I’ll shut up now and go back to reading and trying to learn. My thanks to the commentators of colour who have been doing a lot of educating this week.

      • VoominVava says:

        I feel all that you’ve said, Tanesha and agree. I’ve tried (and mostly failed) to explain to some people online that this is so nuanced and forming an opinion on it needs to be approached thoughtfully… I just want some commenters to know that some of us white women can be empathetic to some of the feelings you are describing. And although I may not understand completely through shared experiences, I am always listening, learning and am an ally.

        sidenote: I have been with my partner for over 20 years and am very insecure about my body .. if someone joked about it, I don’t doubt he’d want to slap them across the face after hearing about my issues with that type of bullying for years. When Will said love makes you do crazy things, although it may have sounded trite, I believe him.

    • Ameerah says:

      You know I was going to respond to this but Tanesha said it all.

    • MsIam says:

      Thank you @Chilling! And no one is giving Will an “out”. I think that when someone acts totally out of character its natural to want to know why and get more background. Its not like this is some random person in the subway who pushes someone in front of a train, obviously that’s a psychopath. This was a long running dispute between two people that spilled over publicly. And I’m not in the crowd who feels there should be no consequences either, although I don’t know what they should be. Maybe a fine or something the way its done in sports. At any rate, the drama from some people is way ridiculous.

    • Als says:

      I have sent you the tiniest violin

    • Kitten says:

      See, what’s disappointing to me is to watch white women outright refuse to truly HEAR and VALIDATE the pain of black women. That’s a CHOICE, just like hushing and listening, and letting black women take the lead on an issue that you and I will never fully understand is a CHOICE.

    • MissMarirose says:

      If you’ve been reading the comments, then you should be VERY aware why certain people like you should not be commenting. Black women have been explaining it in every article from the word go. Clearly and repeatedly. That you take the time to then complain that your chosen ignorance (because that’s what it is at this point) is not centered in the discussion shows that you are not listening. You don’t want to learn. And, honey, no one cares about ignorant opinions. They’re worthless. You do yourself no favors by Karening in the comments.

    • PaulaH says:

      @Amy: I personally don’t have a problem with white women waying into the discussion. My problem is when you make the discussion about your personal trauma and try to hijack the discussion into white women tears. Additionally, it’s irritating when you don’t LISTEN. Black women after Black women have tried to get white women to understand the dynamics of what happened yet you still try and over talk us, try to tell us what we should think and how we should react. We DON’T need this from white women at the moment. We just would like you to LISTEN and show empathy to our hurt/pain. If you can’t do that just read the comments and be silent.

    • detritus says:

      I’ve remained mostly silent on the topic because I cannot fully understand the experience black women go through, not with their hair, not with black men and not in life. If I add my voice without thought it can impact the discussion and silence the voices that are more important.

      You may want to consider doing the same.

  13. Eowyn says:

    Disability doesn’t make you hateful or discriminatory. Disability doesn’t explain internalized racism by a Black man to Black women, and targeting one Black woman over decades. No one is outraged on behalf of all Black women or Jada.

    • CherriePie84 says:

      Thank you!

    • VoominVava says:

      I’ve never really found Chris Rock funny, I figured it was just not my type of humour. But, after reading about some of his subject matter I now know why. He’s a misogynist who punches down and usually to women. It’s so disgusting to me to discover how he’s used black women as a punchline for so long, and seems to use that to appeal to a white audience. He’s only helping keep these women down. It makes me sad, quite frankly. How are they supposed to fight for any type of equality when there is always someone like him right there at the top of the hill ready to knock them back to their ‘place’. I also truly believe he is jealous of Will, and this was meant to knock him down a few pegs because he was about to get an Oscar (that he worked hard and earned btw).
      That being said, the slap was unprofessional in that setting but I am honestly not mad at it. Shocked, regretful ..but not mad. Sorry.

  14. Amy Bee says:

    For those who have been pschyoanalysing Will these few days, what’s your take on Chris’ behaviour towards Jada for the last 25 years?

    • Izzy says:

      I haven’t been psychoanalyzing Will Smith, but Chris Rock is behaving like a textbook “nice guy” who got rejected by Jada.

      • PaulaH says:

        I know a lot of “textbook” nice guys who don’t go around humiliating women when they are rejected. Please don’t normalize Chris’s behavior.

      • Lux says:

        @Paulah Just FYI that the “nice guys” IZZY speaks of are anything but nice. They consider themselves the archetypal “nice guys” overlooked by women who would be the perfect partner and treat them well if they would just give them the chance. These guys, when rejected, are in fact the most toxic and entitled bunch in the world (think incels), so in that sense, CR could be textbook.

  15. Robin says:

    I’m trying to learn from this. I am white. It seems like when white people, like myself, respond to this situation with something to the effect of ” violence is never the answer”, we are ignoring how Jada Pinkett was harmed by this “joke.” And perhaps a more compassionate way to respond would be to show concern for Jada in the situation. I am thinking of how there is legislation being brought in the US to stop hair discrimination at work. At the oscars, Jada Pinkett Smith, working in a looks driven industry, was made the butt of a ( not funny) joke about her hair and her future jobs. That’s a pretty low blow against Jada Pinkett Smith. That joke relies on hair discrimination, among other prejudices, to make the punch line work. Jokes like that are not funny.

    Yes, violence is bad.

    Having said that, i think it is still important to ask how can white women can be better allies to black women in this moment?

    • Winter Day says:

      @ Robin, thank you for your words. Outside of the Will Smith and Chris Rock drama, it’s comforting to know we have allies in a world that is often so cruel to us.

      I’ve been an emotional mess the last few days.

    • Coco Bean says:

      My thoughts on all of this have changed as I’ve sat back and read the different takes, especially from black women. As a white woman, the GI Jane joke went completely over my head. I thought it was a stupid, reaching joke because Jada was wearing green (like the army?) and had a shaved head, like she had many times over the years. I had zero knowledge about her medical diagnosis. Never really followed Chris Rock’s comedy so didn’t know his decades of misogyny and going after black women. I don’t experience how black women are mistreated in society so don’t know the pain they feel. On the surface, the slap looked like a major overreaction, violence never the answer, etc. After the past few days I’m learning, yet again, you don’t know what you don’t know. There was much around this situation I couldn’t understand and I’m sorry that black women, yet again, have to do so much heavy lifting to explain it to us.

  16. cabooklover says:

    Did she turn him down or something? Because Chris seems to really hate her.

    • Ameerah says:

      That’s the feeling I get from it. His behavior is very much rejected incel.

      • Bri W. says:

        Wouldn’t be surprised. This all seems personal on his end.

      • Oya says:

        This exactly. He mad abt something cuz this started when Will and Jada announced their engagement. Me thinks he mad that Jada turned him down for someone he feels is as corny as he is perceived to be. Chris found out Sunday that is the furthest from the truth

  17. ChillinginDC says:

    It can be both things. And as been reported now by a lot of people in the know, she turned him down before he got famous, turned him down again after he got famous (and she was with Will Smith) and got really dusty/ticked off about it. There’s a lot of colorism I think going on there with Chris Rock and his need/desire to make a light skinned Black women feel bad for rejecting him. But I am not going to pyschoanalyze that man.

    And the reason why people bring up all of Black women with regards to Chris Rock is a lot of Black people do not like that man. He did a whole thing about how white people can say the N word. Most of his shows are about tearing down Black women. It’s not funny to us.

    And it doesn’t matter what Chris did know or did not know. He’s Black. He knew commenting about her hair was a joke at her expense. It was not empowering based on what he said. It does not matter if Jada said that same day she loved her bald head. If someone makes fun of me I am going to feel it. We saw her face. She felt that. Please stop acting like she should have had zero feelings about it. He made fun of her in a room of white people who are supposed to be her peers and they laughed at her.

  18. Cee says:

    I’ll die on this hill but do not provoke people over and over and over again and act shocked and injured when they react.

    Chris Rock is the worst type – not only does he hate women, he hates his own race. He attacks Jada because he believes Will Smith is untouchable, or holds more power, so he goes for the “weak one”. Yes, violence is not the answer, but if that’s the only language your bully/abuser speaks…

    • Twin Falls says:

      Right there with you on that hill.

    • Izzy says:


    • Emma says:

      This is a classic technique of an oppressor, commanding people to be doormats and have no response to being injured and never lift a finger to defend themselves (metaphorically or otherwise). Whether playing on morality and religion, or notions of “respectability,” people are supposed to just say nothing and take it, and if they so much as have a facial expression, all of a sudden, they are the problem, while the real (much larger) problem goes unaddressed because it benefits those in power. People are actually now harassing Jada for a video from behind of her during the incident and analyzing every move she made.

  19. Sigmund says:

    Black women have been in these comments and on social media telling us from the beginning that Chris Rock has a history of targeting black women, not just Jada. I’m glad People is bringing this forward.

    For all the people who want to overgeneralize about mental health, abuse, whatever, so many people want to avoid talking about the clear misogyny and racism affecting this situation.

  20. emerson says:

    @Satchi2018 It evident that you’re : 1. not empathic, and 2. undestanding is lacking,; because people have been saying the same things about Chris, Jada & Will since day 1. and 3. you’re a Chris Rock fan.

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    See? I knew it. Well I didn’t know it for certain, but I kinda remembered CR and his Jada fixation from many years ago. This shit has been bubbling. And why on earth would anyone anywhere think it’s okay to make fun of a black woman’s hair or loss of? Because he’s black? I know I know, I’ll sit back down, but my heart aches for Jada even though she’s a badass and has a self important family. I’d probably sport an attitude if I were rich and famous.

  22. ArtMaven says:

    You can splash around in a mud puddle for ages. It won’t get any deeper.

  23. Pilot says:

    To be honest, fuck that noise about how violence is never okay. I remember how joyfully left wing Internet reacted when Richard Spencer got punched a few years ago by the Antifa person. Me included.

    So I ask you the question, how much are you allowed to humiliate black women before they are allowed to say, too, fuck it, Chris rock surely had it coming.

    • Sigmund says:

      Honestly, I’ve come to realize that the “violence is never okay” stance is a very privileged stance. Violence is never okay…when there are systems in place to keep you safe. And I’m not seeing a whole lot of systems in place protecting black women.

      Was Jada safe? There’s certainly a case to be made that she wasn’t. She was a target of misogynoir, which is never a safe position to be in. Just because Chris Rock, a black man, was the originator of it doesn’t make it better or safer for her.

      • Pilot says:

        100%. ‘No violence’ is the refuge of people knowing that violence is committed for them and to protect them.

        We can argue about class and race and whether Jada is somewhat (and in what way in particular) protected due to her being rich. That being said, I’ve been listening to the voices of the Black women on this site for several days now and it’s so clear how they are affected and being made unsafe by the onslaught of aggressions – to their face and by public voices normalising their bad treatment.

  24. BlueNailsBetty says:

    Now that there is even more context, Chris’ behavior towards Jada reek of narcissistic abuser getting revenge on a woman who said no.

    I hate that Will resorted to violence but if The Slap ends up outing Chris as a verbal stalker then it was almost worth it.

  25. JFerber says:

    What I’d like to hear Chris say is, “He shouldn’t have done it. But I understand.”

  26. KeleLeRockChick says:

    To everyone here who lacks empathy for the Smith’s picture this:

    Harry finally is in the same room as P*ers M*rgan who makes a distasteful joke about Meghan as relates to her bi-racial heritage or a medical condition (the latter of which he has).

    Harry witnesses the pain and strikes out after 15 years of abuse, despite his people having briefed PM the day before that H&M would be at said event and that he should stay away from them.

    Maybe the above can help people understand Will Smith better. Violence is never the answer. No one is condoning violence, but as black women we see the ugly games that are really being played here.

    Chris Rock has been problematic for quite some time now, he has hounded and harassed a woman publicly and privately for 15 YEARS, allowed white comedians to use the N word on national TV, victimized black women countless times. I heard this week that his shows were sold out and MAGAT’s were buying seats for thousands of dollars. The caliber of his audience should alert people to how problematic he really is.

    I remember an old flat mate (black) who had a Russian bf who loved Chris Rock. One day I’m in the kitchen and see him in the living room watching a show where he’s calling silly black people N*ggers with the hard R. Russian boy laughed along and repeated those jokes later. It was violent and disgusting.

    Also having a disability and child-hood trauma is not an excuse here for CR to repeatedly abuse Jada. The spin this week has been disgusting.

    I am not sorry CR got popped in the mouth, what saddens me is that it happened at a moment that should have been the height of WS’s career. That Oscar is long overdue.

    Denzil Washington had the best take on the whole affair when he said ‘the devil will meet you at your highest moments”. That is what I choose to take from this horrible situation. No one has won and Jada has still been disrespected and not apologised to, didn’t the Academy also owe her a duty of care ? The Smith’s had the right idea when they boycotted this white institutional event 5 years ago.

  27. Eggbert says:

    Chris needs to examine his feelings towards black women. Was his mother awful to him so now he seeks revenge on all black women? He must carry around a lot of pain because he was physically bullied and sexually assaulted growing up, so does he take his unresolved anger out by punching down on black women?

    If you think about the oscars joke, the only conclusion you can come to is that CR purposefully wanted to target and hurt Jada even if he didn’t know she had alopecia…

    He was in a room full of some of the most famous, rich, beautiful, and arguably weird behaving people on the planet, and yet CR chose to make an very untimely about a black woman’s lack of hair with his one minute on stage to an audience of mostly white people.

  28. phaedra7 says:

    It looks like Croc has a very bad immaturity problem and can’t seem to shake the fact that Jada picked Will over him. He can’t take REJECTION well either. He seems to also have a STALKER-AZZI issue as well, showing that he is INSANELY OBSESSED with Jada.

    Also, from all of the above info where the Smiths time and time again warned him to stop with the harassment (whether in the forms of jokes, insults, etc.), he acts as if he has an extreme mental block and continues to do this will gusto. IMPHO, no wonder Will did what he did which will be in the awards annals history books. I’m not a proponent of any type of violence but: Croc was lucky that Smith was not a very violent person. If they were Average Joes on the street–the situation could have become wayyyy worse!

    • Honora says:

      Reminds me of how Kanye treats some women (like Taylor who similarly never dated him.) also how trump spoke about many women. Jada doesn’t seem to take crap from men so I’m guessing they clashed at work or socially or maybe she has let him know she finds his jokes misogynistic.
      Men don’t have to have dated or hit on a woman to be creepily obsessed. Some men get really weird about a woman being chosen for a promotion that he wants, for example. A couple days ago I thought he didn’t know or WHY would he say that after making the hair documentary. I have to take that back as he’s obviously a little too focused on her, he must have known and it’s a low blow and kinda like harassment if he always makes jokes about her