An Open Letter To Will Smith, From One of Your Biggest Fans

Will Smith

By: Denee Anaya

OMG, Big Willy, birth name-Willard Carroll Smith, stage name Will Smith, of all the times for you to get into your feelings, on the night that you have proclaimed to be the moment that you been waiting for a long time, on the night that will sum up the journey of your 36 years in entertainment, on the night that you are about to receive this year’s 2022 Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the award that only four other African American men in history have received: Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jaimie Foxx and Forest Whitaker, that night you decide that during the international live broadcast of the 94th Academy of Motion Picture Awards, in front of all of those multi-millionaires and billionaires sitting there with you, and after over three decades in show business, you decide to show your a**.  

You have won just about every important entertainment award that there is to receive, except for the Tony award, and I believe that is because you have not gotten around to doing theater yet. Each time you attended the ceremonies, you were the pillar of class and elegance. But on this night, you obviously could not contain yourself, and for all the world to see, you erupted in the middle of the Oscars. For those of us who are your core fans, we know that this is out of your character.  Your family was also taken aback by your unusual behavior. Your mother Caroline Bright, in an interview with Sharrie Williams co-anchor of Action News PHL17(Philadelphia), said that this was the first time that she has ever seen you go off.  

It is a shame. This night was not only about your nomination, but it was also about the celebration of the movie you starred in “King Richard.” The film about Richard Williams, the father of two of the greatest female tennis players of all time, who happen to be African American, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Richard Williams taught himself how to play tennis, and then instructed his daughters. This Academy Award broadcast was also particularly special, because it was the first time that an African-American man, Will Packer, was leading the first all-Black team to produce the Oscars. 

What happened? What triggered you to slap legendary comedian Chris Rock across the face after a joke he made comparing your gorgeous wife and fellow actor, Jada Pinkett Smith, to the G.I. Jane character when Chris came on stage to present an award? The role was played by actress Demi Moore in the 1997 progressive film by the same name. G.I. Jane is a film that as far as I am concerned was ahead of its time. It was directed by the late Ridley Scott, and was about a fictional female character, and the emotional, mental and physical challenges that she faced while training to become the first female United States Navy Seal.

In the movie, G.I. Jane was a badass who didn’t have the support of her fellow Navy Seal men, and eventually shaved her head to be taken seriously by her peers. I thought it was a good movie, and I thought Demi Moore looked good with a shaved head, which is actually a hair style that some women choose to wear, like the legendary Grace Jones. So, was that what upset you? And if so, why? Or maybe you weren’t even thinking about the G.I. Jane movie, maybe you were thinking about your wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s struggle with Alopecia, and how that joke affected her. After all Jada who was sitting there with you did give a noticeable eye roll when Chris made the joke. She was not amused. And yes, the joke was tasteless, but most jokes are.  

Yes, Chris (who later stated that he did not know about Jada’s condition), upset many people with his joking. Especially those who struggle with Alopecia. I understand that, because I have an adult family member who has struggled with Alopecia which began when she was a child. Watching her struggle over the years really broke my heart. Not to mention my own daughter who lost a lot of her hair and had to cut it because of a non-requested chemical procedure that was placed on her hair without her knowing. The joke was not funny to African-American women who are tired of being ridiculed about our hair. Especially by Chris Rock, who was specifically insulting in his 2009 film “Good Hair.”  Will Smith, you do have two sisters and a daughter, and a mother-in-law, and not to mention a wife and your own mother. Were you thinking about all of them when you popped Chris Rock? Maybe.  

But you and your wife Jada Pinkett Smith are no strangers to being the center of attention and the butt of jokes. Specifically jokes about your open marriage which you and Jada have frequently talked about publicly. The saying goes that “when you put your business in the streets, then you give people the right to comment on your business.”  This especially applies to celebrities including you and Jada. You are of course celebrities, which means famous people. Fortunately, with the fame comes a lot of privileges, including money, access and millions of people who admire you. But as my mom used to tell me, nothing is free. And those privileges come with a cost, and one of those costs is the loss of your anonymity. But I don’t have to tell you Will Smith, you know these things. I must say that you have shrugged off all the naysayers over time and kept pushing and excelling in your craft and in the industry.  

You have remained steady through the years even when some made fun of you and criticized you. Including the notion that somehow you were too big to marry Jada Pinkett. To a lot of people in the community, that meant that you were too good to marry a Black woman. But you married that gorgeous lady who is a talented actress in her own right, and you moved up higher. So here is where I fan out. Let me just say, that I am no Will Smith hater.

Long before Jada and your open marriage, I have been a superfan from the beginning. As a matter of fact, when I met my husband back in 1994, and we became exclusive, I told him that I would not cheat on him, unless Will Smith, LL Cool J, Al B. Sure, Michael Jai White or Tom Cruise came knocking, to which my then future husband replied “ sh……. I ain’t worried about those N***s!” LOL. For those of you that don’t like the N-word, I hear you, but I’m just saying, that’s what he said. Really, when I tell you that I am a mega fan, that’s what it is.  

I remember the moment in the mid-80’s when DJ Jazzy Jeff and you the “Fresh Prince” released your first Album “Rock The House.” I think DJ Jazzy Jeff is one of the best of all time, and his skills on the ones and twos turntables is no joke. I became a fan of the two of you forever. I was watching in 1989 when thee DJ Jazzy Jeff and you made music history when you won the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for your record “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”  Then came the Sitcom, the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air. ” Then came the mega movies like, “Independence Day,” “Bad Boys”, and” I am Legend,” and more albums, and more movies, and the rest is history. I have been there for every album and every movie and have loved all of it. You went on to become a superstar and reach levels that even you probably did not see coming. You always remained thankful and humble, my admiration of you and the admiration for you by the community and the world at large grew stronger and stronger. You are one of the pioneers of hip hop music. Back in those days, we called it rap. You have long been a staple in #TheCulture for sure. 

However, as we all sat there watching, waiting for you to get your well-deserved award, this night you erupted. You, sitting there in the front row, your cashew colored skin glowing, you looking fly, and fine as wine in all your splendor, and you decided that after all of these years, in a moment that you will never get back again, you could not take any more, and you not only decided to smack Chris Rock, but then to add insult to injury, you returned to your seat and proceeded to what we say in the Hood, “cuss him out.”  It left us all speechless, disappointed and wondering what just happened? 

Was it because Chris Rock, who was the host of the Academy Awards in 2016 made fun of your wife Jada Pinkett Smith for boycotting the Academy Awards because you were not nominated for your role in the movie “Concussion.”  A Biopic in which you portrayed Nigerian-American physician Bennet Omalu. Chris Rock made fun of your movie the “Wild Wild West” that night as well. Or was it because Chris Rock in 1997 made fun of Jada Pinkett Smith’s participation in the Million Woman March? Maybe. Or was it a culmination of it all, including the recent backlash that you have gotten regarding Jada’s affair with rapper August Alsina? Did Chris just happen to get hit for everybody? Or was it because you knew that Chris Rock, who has spoken about being bullied, and who is very professional and has never been violent, would probably not punch you back?  

A lot of people thought that Chris Rock was your boy. There have been many photos of the two of you together with Jada over the last three decades, and Chris Rock has appeared with you on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. ” Jada Pinkett-Smith has also starred alongside Chris Rock in the “Madagascar” movies, and it has been said that your and Chris Rock’s now grown children attended each other’s birthday parties when they were little.  We all want to know Will Smith because violence is never the answer.  

I hope that you can recover from this. I am one that believes that everyone deserves a second chance. But in this climate with everything that is going on the world with respect to violence, I’m not sure that the world is in a mood to accept you hitting someone unprovoked.  You proceeded to apologize for your actions that night to a lot of people during your acceptance speech for winning the Academy Award for Best Actor In a Leading Role, accept to the person who deserved it the most, Chris Rock! In all fairness, after all of our speculation, you did let us know what was going through your mind via your Instagram post. You stated that a joke about Jada’s condition was too much for you to bear.

Chris Rock, who I must admit, I am not a fan of some of his jokes, but I do like many of his jokes, and I like his delivery and his style. I really think that he is funny. I am also a fan of his movies, and I think that he is a talented writer and actor. But most of all I think he is a really a nice guy and he did not deserve that.  

I believe that you and Chris Rock should sit down publicly, and you should explain to him personally what your problem was that evening, and you should really apologize to his face publicly on your wife’s Jada Pinkett Smith’s show “Red Table Talk.” Do it sooner rather than later. No matter what, Chris Rock is owed at least that in my opinion. If Chris Rock forgives you Will Smith, and God forgives you, then the world should forgive you. 

I hope that is enough because I would like to see you have the opportunity to continue to do what you do best. Make us laugh. And we all need that.

God Bless You and Good Luck Will Smith.  

Still A Fan.

-Denee Anaya

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