Willow Smith says the media cycle and the industry’s response to her father slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars didn’t “shake me up” as much as other issues she faced personally.
In an interview with Billboard, the 21-year-old singer and daughter of Will Smith spoke about how the moment — which her father also recently opened up about in a lengthy Instagram post — affected her. She told the magazine that the attention and investigation that followed the incident didn’t ultimately derail her artistic endeavors, nor did it derail me “as much as my own internal demons.”
Instead, the singer notes, she continues to see and accept the humanity of her loved ones.
“I see my whole family as a human being, and I love them and accept them for all their humanity,” she says. “Because of the position we are in, our humanity is sometimes not accepted and we are expected to act in a way that is not conducive to healthy human life and not conducive to fairness.”
Last week, Will spoke about his behavior at the Academy Awards ceremony and then for the first time in a five-minute Instagram video. In it, he addressed many of the frequently asked questions that surfaced that night, taking to the Dolby Theater stage and slapping Chris Rock after the comedian and host made an unscripted joke about Jada Pinkett’s bald haircut. Smith, who has spoken publicly about her experiences with alopecia.
Will explained why he didn’t immediately apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech for his Best Actor win, as well as an apology to the comedian that he also offered to members of Rock’s family. That was before he apologized to others who may have been influenced by his decision that night, including fellow Oscar attendees, nominees and winners, and his own family.
“I want to say sorry to my children and my family for the heat I caused,” Smith said.
The actor later spoke about how his actions reflected on him as a person, noting that he “deeply regrets” but tries to be “without being ashamed”.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate it when I disappoint people. So it hurts. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to the image and impression people had of me,” he explained. “I’m human and I made a mistake, and I try not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”
After his actions at the 2022 awards ceremony, the Oscar winner resigned from the Academy and was banned from participating in the prestigious industry group’s events for a decade.
“I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking,” Smith concluded his apology. “But I promise you, I am very committed and committed to bringing light, love and joy into the world.”