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Over the weekend, Netflix aired its first ever live standup comedy show, Selective Outrage, featuring comedian, Chris Rock. As anticipated, many people tuned in to hear his long-awaited response to Will Smith slapping him at the Oscars in 2022.
I saw someone on the internet say, “Chris Rock got his lick back.” If you grew up in a Black family or community, you know that means his verbal lick. And I agree. In those last ten minutes of the special, he unapologetically dragged Will and Jada. But this time, he really took it too far with the disrespect.
Let me be clear. I agree that Will was wrong for assaulting Chris Rock. I agree with Chris when he said that Will’s anger was misplaced. I agree that Chris Rock deserved to respond and has the right to still be upset. But I don’t agree with how he came at Jada during the show by calling her several “b**ches.” And if we’re talking about selective outrage, Chris projected his on Jada more than he did on Will.
According to Wikipedia, when applied to a woman or girl, bitch means someone who is belligerent, unreasonable, malicious, controlling, aggressive, or dominant and is a slur that fosters sexism against women.
Chris Rock uses damaging stereotypes against Black women
These are all stereotypes Black women have been labeled as throughout history. So when Chris Rock – or any Black man or woman – drills this notion into the heads of White audiences, it feeds this false narrative that is damaging to Black women.
Chris also called Will Smith a few “b**ches” but more along the lines of saying he exhibited “b**ch-like behavior”. The tone of those “jokes” was lighter. However, the vehemence and aggression in his voice when he was referring to Jada as a b**ch wasn’t a joke — he meant every word.
He called her b**ches and talked about her affair with August Alsina saying, “…it was his wife f*cking her son’s friend.”
He made it seem like she told him to quit his job hosting the Oscars back in 2016 because Will Smith wasn’t nominated when in fact, Pinkett Smith, alongside many Hollywood stars, boycotted the ceremony due to the lack of diversity among that year’s nominations, dubbed #OscarsSoWhite.
“That’s how it is – she starts it, I finish it, OK? That’s what the f*** happened. Nobody’s picking on her. She started this s***,” he exclaimed when in actuality, Rock was the one that originally kicked off the static between him and Jada.
Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith have history that goes back to the ’90s
Going back to the 1990’s, he has cracked jokes about Jada’s activism, her celebrity status and the one that got him chin-checked, her alopecia. For the most part, Jada’s response has been “it comes with the territory.”
But because nuance is about as common as common sense, the people applauding Chris Rock for his clap-back are probably, in-turn, demonizing Jada Pinkett Smith when, at the end of the day, she did nothing to harm this man.
In his closing line, Chris Rock said, “A lot of people go, ‘Chris, how come you didn’t do nothing back? How come you didn’t go back that night?’ Because I got parents. That’s why. I got parents, and you know what my parents taught me: Don’t fight in front of White people.”
Then he dropped the mic and the crowd exploded with applause. This public feud between the Smiths and Rock is absolutely a brawl in front of White people and a contradiction to Chris’s final words.
It’s also a fight that Rock and White people (Netflix execs) are profiting from while overall, the mountain of good deeds built by Will and the Smith family continues to crumble.
But sadly and more importantly, along with giving permission to White people to use the N word, he’s now greenlit and perpetuated the continued disrespect of Black women.