Yup, we’re still talking about “the slap,” and now it’s to the point any celebrity who has an opinion on the matter better be prepared to be hit with a “this you” tweet and any transgressions from the past will be dug up.
The Hall-of-Famer and Los Angeles Laker legend is also known for sharing his opinion on matters relating to sports matters or things going on in the Black community. So, it should come as no surprise he had something regarding the whole Will Smith and Chris Rock situation. Abdul-Jabbar already has flamed current Lakers superstar LeBron James for irresponsibly sharing a Spider-Man meme after testing positive and then negative for COVID-19 and called out anti-vaxxers in the NBA. Both times he was lauded for speaking out. Now, he is feeling the wrath of Twitter for saying Will Smith’s behavior during the 94th Oscar Awards perpetuated stereotypes.
In a Substack essay he shared on Monday (Mar.28), the NBA’s all-time leading scorer wrote, “By hitting Rock, he announced that his wife was incapable of defending herself—against words.” He added, “This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor least they swoon from the vapors.”
Abdul-Jabbar, who also made an appearance on Smith’s classic comedy sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1994, had something to say about Will Smith’s acceptance speech after winning an Oscar for Best Actor, calling it “self-serving.” Abdul-Jabbar also added it was “justifying his violence.”
“Apparently, so many people need Smith’s protection that occasionally it gets too much, and someone needs to be smacked,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. He also claimed that the incident was a bad look for the Black community. “One of the main talking points from those supporting the systemic racism in America is characterizing Blacks as more prone to violence and less able to control their emotions,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Smith just gave comfort to the enemy by providing them with the perfect optics they were dreaming of.”
Abdul-Jabber is the latest celebrity to chime in on the matter and is currently feeling the painful sting of social media after sharing an opinion. Zoe Kravitz, actor/comedian Jim Carrey and a growing list of others are currently having their CarFax’s being pulled for having the audacity to speak on Will Smith’s actions. Even Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus Williams, who Smith brilliantly portrayed in King Richard, spoke on the matter. “We don’t know all the details of what happened,” he said through his son Chavoita Lesane, “But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.”
This situation will continue to be a hot-button topic within the Black community for a few more days. Will Smith has since issued an apology to Chris Rock, and his wife, Jada Pinkett, did break her silence on the matter, well, sort of. We won’t be shocked if the Smiths break out the red table for this and decide to capitalize on the moment.
You can peep more reactions to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calling out Will Smith in the gallery below.
Photo: JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX / Getty