Some of my dearest friends and I have agreed to disagree about the angry choices a certain actor made on Hollywood’s biggest night.
What’s also true is that I don’t condone violence; I wish he would have handled it backstage, and I was waiting on him to offer a more direct apology in the aftermath.
But as I often say, we rarely know another person’s full story – including the challenges they may be walking through.
As Will Smith accepted his Oscar I saw what appeared to be shame in celebrating his biggest career achievement amid his biggest career misstep – knowing that his mother (who he seemed upset with for not coming) and his children had witnessed his implosion.
Who knows? Maybe he had to beg Jada to show up and deal with her alopecia-related hair loss on a night when other women’s tresses were flowing.
And who knows what else Will may be dealing with in his family, with his health or within himself?
He still shouldn’t have strode onstage and slapped a colleague.
He did what hurt people often do – hurt other people. And in this case, he hurt himself most of all by taking away from the legacy of “strength in the face of fire” that Venus and Serena entrusted to him.
All that said, and even as I shook my head at it all, I could think of times I wished I had handled situations differently. Can’t we all?
Not condoning his behavior, but also not serving as judge nor jury. (The memes and Twitter comments are pure entertainment and offer enough sentences without mine.)
Will Smith will face his consequences, and as he deals with them privately and publicly, I hope the rest of us can use this as a reminder that at every age and stage, there’s room for growth and room for empathy.
And who walked away with his head held highest for showing restraint? Chris Rock, who I’m sure will be telling jokes about that experience for years to come. Get ready, Will.