It’s only been a couple of months since viewers witnessed the “slap heard around the world” during the 94th Annual Academy Awards. As people sat in awe while watching beloved actor Will Smith slap stand-up comedian Chris Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff revealed in an interview (June 27) that he saw everything happen in slow motion.
After gathering his thoughts and talking to Smith about the slap that night, DJ Jazzy Jeff tells FAQ Podcast that it didn’t matter who was on stage, he would have even slapped Mike Tyson, if necessary.
Following the incident, many celebrities and social media users viciously ripped Smith’s reputation apart. Critics left and right claimed that his behavior did nothing other than play into the “angry Black man stereotype” and “normalize violence”. Celebrities, like actress and director Sophia Bush, went on Twitter saying that “violence isn’t ok”. And one since-deleted tweet from director Judd Apatow implied that Smith’s “pure rage and violence” could have killed Rock.
However, in an interview with FAQ Podcast, DJ Jazzy Jeff shares with viewers that the tension was nothing more than a bad lapse in judgment. He continues defending Smith when referencing his latest book, Will, and the troubling upbringing he had with his parents, “Will opened that book up talking about his relationship with his mom,” says DJ Jazzy Jeff. “Will has been protecting his mom ever since he was a kid… Will has been protecting every woman in his life ever since that. [That night] Will was protecting his woman.” Because of this, DJ Jazzy Jeff felt as if the public didn’t completely understand where Smith was coming from. “He would’ve slapped Mike Tyson, it did not matter who was there. Will would have gotten his a– beat, but he was going to do what he was going to do regardless of who it was”.
Besides the close relationship their characters had in the show “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in the 90s, many fans were pleased to know that both Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff still remain friends, twenty-six years after the series ended. Consequently, many people were convinced that DJ Jazzy Jeff was merely being a supportive friend and that Will Smith would never go on stage to slap Mike Tyson of all people.
I guess we’ll have to wait to see if that day comes!