Last Night's Oscars was one for the books! After years of low ratings, Will Packer and Shayla Cowan produced a show that was full of diversity and history making moments, from performances to slaps!
Beyonce opened the show with her Oscar Nominated song "Be Alive," an original song from the King Richard soundtrack. Daughter Blue Ivy joined her, and they both performed in tennis ball hued David Koma ensembles.
The lyrics go, "It's so Good to be Alive. Got all my family by my side. Couldn't wipe this black off if I tried. That's why I lift my head with pride." The song is a tribute to the accomplishments of Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and their father Richard Williams, on who the movie is based.
It was a big night for the movie King Richard. Will Smith, who plays the no nonsense, hard nosed father to the tennis phenoms in the film, brought home an Oscar for his portrayal.
It was a historic win for Will, whose wife Jada, in 2016, decried the Oscars for being too whitewashed, calling for a boycott of the ceremony. She took to Twitter to write, “At the Oscars … people of color are always welcomed to give out awards … even entertain...But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment.”
This year, not only did Will and Jada get a seat at the table, but they were front row to the festivities, close enough for Will Smith to get up from his chair and smack comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about Jada's hair (he said that she should be featured in G.I. Jane II). Jada suffers from Alopecia, a scalp condition that results in hair loss.
He followed up the assault with some choice words, including, "Keep my wife's name out your f*cking mouth." The world was pretty much like Lupita Nyong'o, mouth agape, in disbelief that this was happening on National TV.
While Will was apologetic later, and said he was defending his family (as he should), nothing can justify physical violence, no matter how tasteless the joke. Five years ago, his family was advocating for inclusion. Now that they are front and center, they show a lack of control and decorum that totally contradicts the spirit of King Richard and the significance of him being in the room. Beyonce opened the show with a song showing pride against adversity.
And while we are happy for Will Smith, his reaction to the joke soured the win and overshadowed the other wonderfully historic moments of the night.
We've got to do better. And violence is not the answer.
What do you think?