In recent news, you may have seen the incident at the 2022 Oscars between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Such a diverse range of opinions has been provided on the topic.
Should Will Smith have been subjected to immediate discipline by the Academy? Should charges have been filed? Should Chris Rock have hit him back? Who represented the Black community more appropriately? Was this a man protecting his wife’s honor? Was Chris Rock disrespectful to black women? To Black marriages? To those who suffer from alopecia? Was the joke even about alopecia?
In paying close attention, Will Smith initially laughed at the joke. Then, he was suddenly on stage with a different attitude. What happened off camera? Was there something that influenced his next move?
The bottom line is that a physical assault occurred, and there was no retaliation.
Several interview clips surfaced shortly after of Chris Rock talking about being bullied as a child, and how the trauma has impacted his life. Some of these experiences are depicted on screen in Everybody Hates Chris.
And of course, many of us know some of Will Smith’s childhood traumas based on the premise of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and more recently, Bel Air. He, too, experienced some bullying, and fought back.
What led up to each one’s actions in that situation?
Since Will Smith was the aggressor in the situation, and has been very public about the dangers associated with his old West Philly neighborhood, it brings to mind the pressures that are imposed on people to behave or react a certain way based on who, what, and where they represent. It is possible, if not likely, that for where Will is from, Chris’s words were optimal for his actions.
Based on the interviews that Chris Rock has given, the therapy he has undergone had a large influence over his reaction, or lack thereof. As we can all see, this incident had positive results for him. His ticket sales are skyrocketing and additional shows are being added to his tour.
The pressures we experience to succumb to the wiles of society can be at our own detriment. West Philly won’t be paying the consequences for Will’s actions. And while those who are close to and love and care about Will may be incidentally impacted by his actions, they cannot suffer any direct consequences. As for Will – he is no longer a voting member of the Academy, and any other consequences are still in the air.
Was it worth it?
Likely not. Even his wife, who he was purportedly defending, wishes the incident did not occur.
Life has many twists and turns. We are not always prepared for the difficulties we face.
People have a variety of coping mechanisms to deal with challenges that have amounted to trauma. There are people who choose therapy, and there are people who choose to keep pushing forward despite all obstacles. Chris Rock chose therapy, and chose to implement the tools provided to him. That’s not to say that Will Smith has not had therapy, but his actions were not representative of a healed person.
Still, there are people who deal with their trauma in other ways – ways that, although not related to these events, are vitally important to discuss.
Sometimes healing requires more aggressive measures, such as prescribed medication. Taken responsibly and consistently, medications have had positive influences over individuals’ healing processes. However, people have free will. And some people choose to either abuse prescribed meds, indulge in street drugs, abuse alcohol, and/or do a combination of the three.
The harsh reality is – there are people who succumb to the influences of drugs and alcohol. Lives are lost. Whether one is the living dead or six feet under, the only difference is a pulse and a breath.
Being under the influence of anything isn’t just negatively impactful to the person. It also affects the people surrounding the person. Sometimes those who used to care stop caring. It becomes too much of a burden to bear, whether that burden is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, or all of the above…foundations disappear. For those who remain, they are encapsulated by the pain in various forms.
What becomes of the helper?
The quality of life for everyone involved declines. The person who is dedicated to helping the one in need has just as much, if not more, of a distressed lifestyle as the one who has the problem. Top that off with the propensity to be negative in any capacity because one is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and you have a double whammy.
Toxicity is permeating.
Now, more than just the broken person needs healing.
But what led up to the drug and/or alcohol abuse? Is this learned behavior? Was there some other trauma so heavy that one would rather zone out, regularly?
A family history of drug or alcohol abuse and adverse childhood experiences are each risk factors associated with an individual’s abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Consider the battered woman, human trafficking, child abuse and/or neglect, or anything that would be so traumatizing that one would rather be controlled by some foreign substance. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things that would lead to someone abusing drugs or alcohol. But an undeniable aspect of being under the influence of some foreign substance is that the individual is under the control of something other than themselves.
Do people want to float through life because they are used to being out of control? Not ‘out of control’ in the reckless sense, but ‘out of control’ in the sense of being accustomed to having a lack of control – a lack of intentionality and responsibility?
When one is a victim in an abuse situation, they are not in control. It is possible that one becomes so used to not being in control that even when the abuse is removed, they abuse themselves. It is also not at all uncommon that the self-abuse began during the inflicted abuse.
The longer substances are used in some form or fashion as a means to get away from whatever ails an individual, the longer the individual will have their problem. And now, there are more problems…namely, removing the control of their chosen ruler. Once that influence dissipates, however, healing can begin. But if the external control persists, the hurt is perpetuated.
The hurt is passed along to the helper, to the confidants, to the family, to the friends, to the children, to the job, and the list goes on. Hurt people hurt people. And sometimes, this lasts for generations.
The same connection can be drawn between the ‘drug’ of societal pressures. Doing what is expected of you simply because it is expected is allowing something or someone else to control your actions.
What influence was there over Will Smith that night at the Oscars?
When we let go of the hurt that we have been subjected to, we no longer inflict that same pain onto others. We break the cycle.