The first openly LGBTQ woman won an Oscar for best supporting actor (Ariana DeBose, West Side Story). The first deaf male actor, Troy Kotsur (Coda) won an Oscar. Jane Campion became the third woman film-maker to win best director for The Power of the Dog.
But all of those firsts were overshadowed by another Philadelphian. You've heard the story, "he got in one little fight, and his mom got scared..." I won't berate you with my take on what happened. There are full threads, podcasts, news articles and every social media page has someone internalizing the account to fit their own agenda.
Also, I've written about Westbrook Willy in many of my journals, so you all know that he is one of my flawed hip hop heros, whom I hope better for...and by heros I mean specifically Batman- because he's lived long enough to see himself become a villain. Am, I surprised by what happened, not at all, he's openly admitted to hitting his wife with a newspaper. (Who does that?) The way he eviscerated Janet Hubert's career for decades; and then used a PR team to smooth it over so that he could properly reboot his show.
Let's be clear, what happened last night was NOT about protecting black women. Neither of these men are champions of intersectionality; nor have they done anything to address misogynoir. As a matter of fact, they are both arguably part of the problem. Chris Rock felt empowered to go on America's biggest stage to panhandle white laughs at the expense of a Black woman in pain. Will Smith, tormented with the memes and the jokes regarding his marriage, needed to avenge his ego publicly, and firmly against another black man, instead of comforting his wife.
The sound that I heard Sunday night was not a slap, it was the sound of male fragility, it was the sound of masks hitting the ground, it was the sound of a cry for help, it was the sound of confusion. (It was also the sound of the ancestors saying "I know your mamma raised you better than that." Or was it "Act like you got some home training.")
I won't share the other gif- we've seen it so many times. It lives rent free in our minds. I shared this gift instead because the joy on Jada's face is stunning and shows that comedians can make jokes that don't hit someone when they are most vulnerable.
I will, however, take this moment to share some facts about Jada Koren Pinkett Smith aka Jada Koren- lead singer for Wicked Wisdom...supermom to Wonder Woman Willow...philanthropist and self proclaimed womanist...and more.
I just want to lift her up and cloak prayers around her. I can't imagine what she's going through and I won't pretend to understand. I hope that she protects herself and puts herself first. And with that I uplift her and say her name with some of her works:
1994 Jada created her own fashion label Maja (The clothing line features women's T-shirts and dresses embellished with the slogan "Sister Power", sold primarily through small catalogs.)
1997 Jada emceed the Million Woman March (in Philly)
2004 Jada published her first children's book Girls Hold Up This World, to remind girls to feel powerful in their femininity (in all forms) in a masculine world.
2005 Jada became one of many celebrities to invest a combined total of $10 million in Carol's Daughter, a line of beauty products created by Lisa Price, a black woman.
She has supported organizations nationwide and globally, speaking on behalf of PETA and donating to causes that address women's issues, while advocating for those with lupus, alopecia and more.
And she gave us Stony from da Bronx. <3
In conclusion, and back to the title, the sound that I heard from Jada was silence. Black women know this silence far too often. If I say something...what will they think; if I don't say anything...what will they think. But I'm feeling something and I feel unprotected either way. I heard you girl- and we got you.
Neither Will, nor Chris will be canceled- and nor should they be- however, that doesn't mean they both shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. What does that mean? It means more than them both donating $10 million dollars to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation or research, or whatever celebs do to buy forgiveness- HA, so hold that dail PR person/group/fixers!!!
It means they both really do some soul searching. It means more than a publicity prepped apology on Instagram -it's so annoying when people type paragraphs in a picture post - it's for PHOTOS!!!! Twitter is for TEXT!!!! But I digress.
It means that two of our greats had a low moment and this is the perfect time to show young brothers how to actually protect black women. (Don't get it twisted- we can protect ourselves, because we've had to for decades.) But it would be nice to have someone properly speak up for us in our silence for once, instead of somehow making it about themselves...
How's that for a slap in the face?