Ada Fisher: Will Smith was wrong but possibly so right also

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2022

The 2022 Oscars featured the slap on stage rather than on screen by Will Smith directed at Chris Rock, publicly displayed for the entire world to see.  Assaults should never be condoned period.  The criticism has been fast and furious from most quarters with media exposure except for the voice of Tiffany Haddish who felt it was a beautiful display from a man who rightfully stood up to defend the honor of his wife.  

Deep down inside of many of us is an appreciation of the valor from the intent of such a testosterone display.  A display of chivalry in defense of a woman’s honor is not to be ignored given the many who appear to want to ignore our personhood with even a potential Supreme Court Justice unable to define what a woman is.  Likewise the cry of toxic masculinity pales in categorizing this display as it relates to “a brother” defending his partner as pledged in vows “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.” For all the negative press men of color receive regarding violence at their hands, Smith’s act easily could be mistaken for a form of chivalry.   

Many have spoken up in their condemnation citing the need to protect the image of Black men against stereotypes of violence.  Too often our ethnic pack is maligned by one act which becomes perceived as a reflection on all of us from that one fool or foolish act.  The hypocrisy of actors speaking up against this violence so publicly displayed neglects the many acts of violence carried out in their acting whether in screen plots or personal life demonization of partners or parading of females promoting a constant “T&A” display in their fashion choices or lack of support for diversity in its more positive forms.  As Dave Chappelle notes, entertainers (which includes actors, athletes and those in communication) should not be held up as role models.  

One of my sons schooled me that punching and fighting among Black men is relatable; however, when a Black man slaps a Black man, it is the ultimate insult as would be spitting on him or using a racial slur to depict him.  Watching the expressions on Smith’s face, he relayed that this looked too much like a scripted scene.  

In “ Black Panther,” the film’s warrior class was Black women with hair to the scalp.  If this were all about hair — Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia areata is an immune complex disease which can lead to baldness and unfortunately targets Black women disproportionately.  Our “Crowns” are as much of who we are as anything.  In this day of blonds depicted as having more fun and blue eyes embodying beauty where does this leave Black women, particularly those who are hairless when Black men chose to make us a derision for their jokes or non-choice of partners?  Before his disgrace, Bill Cosby, whose wife has similarly short hair, was known for his funny but clean comedy relatable on so many levels.   

Will Smith’s act against Chris Rock should also be a warning to those continually pushing the envelope on commentary directed at people who are in the public eye by people with media access.  The barrage of public expressions focused on those with whom some may disagree or find distasteful targets for derision whether from news media outlets of Fox or CNN, Democrats or Republicans too often subjects them to potential retribution of many types.  

It has been said that when you express your right to freedom of speech be aware that there may be consequences for such.  Everything isn’t funny and life is definitely not a joke.  Be careful what you say for it can come back to bite you and the price to be paid is possibly more than anticipated  

Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a physician, licensed secondary education teacher, former medical director of a Fortune 500 company and N.C. Republican National Committeewoman 2012-2020.  She is an author and can contacted at P.O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145 or by email at