The Rock Matriarch Has Spoken

Today makes it exactly a month since the “slap heard around the world” happened.” In a shocking matter of seconds, Will Smith, perhaps one of Hollywood’s most bankable sensations, slapped Chris Rock dead in the face as the rest of the Oscars attendees watched in a mixture of horror, stone-cold silence and nervous chuckles. 

Rose Speak

While the internet has had its field day developing think pieces, generating memes, and dishing out social media commentary, Rosalie “Rose” Rock’s recent comments about the incident are the most poignant.

The Rock matriarch, an author, family advocate, and motivational speaker, recently shared her thoughts with WIS-TV, a South Carolina news station.

The Interview

During the interview, she shared that her son, who was at the receiving end of the slap, is still processing the incident. Understandably, Rose was upset about the situation and pointed out how the slap had affected her family.

When Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me. When you hurt my child, you hurt me,” said Rose.

Smith slapped Rock on the Oscars stage after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.

Although he appeared to laugh at first, the joke prompted Smith to casually walk up to the stage and strike Rock.
“You reacted to your wife giving you the side-eye, and you went and made her day because she was mulled over laughing when it happened,” Rose said of the moment.

I Understand What She’s Saying

Rose’s sentiment is one that any mother, especially any Black mother with a son, can understand. As a Black mother, it is easy to constantly worry about your son and whether he will be the next victim of a police brutality mishap that will spark a nationwide outrage or whether life will be kind to your son despite the odds stacked against him. As a Black woman who is the mother of a Black son, I heard Rose’s words, and I could understand every word. It must feel like a different kind of raw hurt to see your son humiliated in front of the whole world, not by a police officer or some old racist white man, but by someone who looks like him; someone with a familiarity of the trials and tribulations that America has leveled against Black people, and Black men, especially.

The Reality of Black Motherhood

As a mother to a Black son, it can be nerve-wracking to worry about whether or not he should wear a hoodie in an all-white neighborhood or not, or whether he should refrain from driving while Black. When I worry about my son, I don’t usually think about the potential dangers he will be exposed to at the hands of other Black men, but I think only of his experience in a world where most of the white world reacts to Black men with negativity and prejudice.

In Hindsight

In spite of everything, though, I think that Rose should be proud that she raised a man with a remarkable amount of restraint, which he exhibited at the height of a heated moment. Regardless of a person’s stance on the issue, it is undeniable that Rock showed an impressive level of self-control that evening. Many other people, according to their online testimonies, would have followed Smith at the heels and popped him upside the head. Rock, however, did not, and for that, Rose should be proud.