By Oscar Jackson via Today FM
OPINION: The slap. A moment in recent pop-culture history that made time stand still when A-list movie star Will Smith took to the Oscars stage to express a magnitude of disapproval towards a joke made by the evening's host, Chris Rock.
Since that fateful night, criticism, backlash and a whole lotta confusion swept across the world. Now, the questions that went unanswered have finally been acknowledged by the Fresh Prince himself… though one moment in his 5-minute and 44-second 'apology' video has particularly caught my attention.
One could say it hit me like.. well.. a slap in the face.
It showed me that something as simple as a water bottle is as much proof as I need that Will Smith has well and truly lost the plot.
I watched the Will Smith apology video live on my Twitch stream and just so happened to capture the moment the penny dropped.
So, let's take a look at some of the key moments that led up to this apology from Smith. Why are we here in the first place?
The most obvious place to anchor this story is, of course, the slap.
The moment Smith's open palm made contact with Rock's unsuspecting face sent shockwaves around the world.
I think it's safe to say almost everyone was in utter disbelief, assuming such a stunt could only be a planned and bold marketing tour de force.
But once the Bad Boys star took his seat and unloaded a verbal screeching of swearing and discontent for Rock, the mood in the room clearly changed from "how interesting" to "oh shit".
I think we can all agree that physically assaulting someone is never okay, even in the face of an offensive-allopecia-based quip.
Another notable mention in lead up to the slap was this very strange sit-down conversation between Jada and Will, which for some reason needed to be a public service announcement.
I haven't watched the entire thing. I don't particularly care to. Partly because I'm lazy but also because I don't quite understand why it's anyone's business - the inner workings and dynamics of the Smiths' relationship.
I've linked it above (not the full version, someone made a meme edit which I'm sure shows you everything you would need to get the idea).
It seems like the Smiths might have somewhat of a God complex around what the personal details of their lives, mean for us mere mortals in the general public. It's like they believe they owe us some sort of offering so we continue to bend the knee. But this isn't Game of Thrones and Jada isn't my Khaleesi, so just kick on and don't worry about what the commonfolk think.
With that context in mind, we arrive at the apology.
All in all, I would say this was actually quite a well-thought-out and interesting video. It wasn't overly huffy and puffy or emotional - just an opportunity for Will to sit down and address the situation head-on after some time for the air to clear.
The first couple of minutes actually felt quite genuine… but then I saw something that shook me so hard the local seismologists were starting to get their seismographs out…
No. It couldn't be. I've seen that water bottle before…
Dear lord. Did Will Smith actually just include product placement of his son's 'Just Water' company in his apology video?
Product placement. Apology video. Wow.
Nothing says "I'm sorry" like an in-house brand deal. The fact this got across the line amazes me. It speaks to Smith's complete and utter out-of-touch-ness with reality.
To hear more analysis of Will Smith's apology video, check out the Talking Out The Trash podcast, where we deep-dive into pop culture's messiest moments:
I don't understand how anyone in their right mind could think this would be a good look. I don't even think Logan Paul tried to sell merch in his apology video after filming a dead body.
I didn't see an Addidas collab in Travis Scott's black and white face rub film flowing the death of several of his fans at his concert.
It truly blows my mind. For me, this is proof that Will Smith has surrounded himself with 'yes' people to the point where he has actually gone mad.
I have hope the Prince's Freshness will once again be fresh. I don't actually believe Smith or any of his family members are bad people. Most likely quite the opposite. But it does pain me to see someone who ticks so many boxes as a role model fall so easily from grace time and time again.
Is the product placement really a big deal? Seems to have rattled my cage enough to write two and a half pages on the subject (and I don't like doing anything).
I think it's time Will steps out of the limelight - not because I want him to go away, I just believe the world loves a good comeback story. Look at Bieber, Depp, Simon Bridges, even.
Quit the fame train for a while. Hang with the family. Play that new cat video game that came out.
Do anything other than walk the red carpet - I promise the camera lights will flash brighter when you return.
Oscar Jackson is a Digital Content Producer for Today FM.