America Has a Lot in Common With Will Smith
What has happened to him is happening to all of us
I remember when Will Smith burst on the scene doing pseudo-ridiculous, catchy rap songs as part of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Even 25 years later I remember songs like these:
Will Smith was the prototype of the charming, non-threatening black guy that Americans loved to see on TV in the nineties (given that we elected Barrack Obama as president, pretty clearly that formula still works), and he got his own series: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Again, it wasn’t revolutionary, but it was pretty good. 25 years later, people still remember not just Smith, but Uncle Phil…… and Carlton from the show:
From there, Will Smith got up on the big screen and although not everything he did was a hit, he had a lot of memorable roles. I am Legend. Ali. I, Robot. Bad Boys. Pursuit of Happyness. Independence Day. Of course, we also can’t forget, Men in Black.
Like most conservative Americans, I’m not all that interested in celebrities per se. I didn’t follow Will Smith’s life day in and day out. I did know he married Jada Pinkett, who I had heard of, and started a family. I also assumed he had lots of money. That assumption turned out to be correct. Allegedly, Will Smith is worth 350 million dollars.
So, just from all of that, you’d have to think Will Smith is living the dream, right? A famous, talented, beloved American actor with a hotly desired wife and more money than he could spend in 10 lifetimes. Sounds pretty good, right?
For me, the first indication that there was trouble in paradise was finding out how weird his kids were:
I don’t remember what the exact moment was that I realized his kids were space cadets. Maybe it was when 15-year-old Jayden showed up at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding reception wearing a white Batman suit.
When a kid, even a kid in Hollywood, is acting that strangely, it’s a sign something is going horribly wrong at home. In this case, that turned out to be Will Smith and Jada Pinkett letting their children run wild and do whatever they want:
It’s not easy raising teenagers, especially in the celebrity world. Which is why all eyes are on former Fresh Prince Will Smith and his actress wife Jada when it comes to publicly raising their two children Jaden, 16 and 13-year-old Willow.
The couple’s relaxed parenting efforts have been called into question a few times, most recently last month when Willow shared a snap of herself lying in bed alongside a shirtless 20-year-old actor.
...The Smiths are no strangers to sharing their parenting tips with the world. They defended their daughter’s decision to shave her head, saying that Willow should understand that she doesn’t belong to anyone.
“When you have a little girl, how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body?” Will asked. “She can’t cut my hair, but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body.”
In 2013, the couple told Metro that they “don’t do punishment”, either.
“The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their own lives.” Will admitted. “You can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life.”
Given that we’re talking rich, famous, spoiled kids who are allowed to do anything they want, it’s probably miraculous that they’re not hunting humans or killing people in drunken car crashes every few months. Still, with all of their parents’ connections and money, they’ll probably be fine. I mean, Hunter Biden’s living to the good life, not sitting in a jail cell, right?
The next thing that made people go, “What the hell?” about Will Smith was when they found out his wife was cucking him. This is something a lot of people just became aware of after the Chris Rock slap.
The first time that may have happened was with Tupac Shakur. He and Jada were very close and spent a lot of time together before his death, but at least publicly, Smith claims they never slept together. Still, he did say this:
"Pac was like Harry—he triggered the perception of myself as a coward. I hated that I wasn't what he was in the world, and I suffered a raging jealousy: I wanted Jada to look at me like that." ...He added: "If she chose me over Tupac, there was no way I could be a coward. I have rarely felt more validated. I was in a room with Tupac on multiple occasions, but I never spoke to him. The way Jada loved 'Pac rendered me incapable of being friends with him. I was too immature."
Of course, Jada did admit she slept with August Alsina. You see, Will and Jada had issues, separated and Jada admits she slept with August Alsina during that time. Although they’ve taken great pains to dance around the issue, even after Jada and Will got back together, Jada and Alsina apparently kept hooking up (which they referred to as an “entanglement”) for 5 years after that. She even humiliated Will Smith by talking about this with him publicly for ratings.
So, that’s the backdrop against which Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock happened. Will Smith, who should have been on top of the world, had been unmanned and humiliated by his wife. By walking up and slapping Chris Rock in an attempt to “defend her honor,” he was trying to get a little bit of his pride as a man back. As you can see from US Weekly’s reporting on it, it didn’t even work:
“She’s not one of these women that needs protecting. He didn’t need to do what he did, she didn’t need protecting. She’s not a wallflower. She’s a strong woman, an opinionated woman and she can fight her own battles. But she will stand by him.”
On top of that, Smith’s reputation took a massive hit, and he was banned from the Oscars for a decade. Is his career over? Probably not, but a man who spent almost 30 years building himself up into a likable, well-respected box-office draw is now viewed as a bully, a weirdo, and less of a man by all the people who had no idea what was going on in the background of his life before he slapped Rock.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should because, in a sense, it’s what our whole country has been going through over the last decade or two.