Chris Rock's brother Kenny Rock set the record straight on the viral Will Smith Oscar slap on Monday. Kenny gave an interview with The Los Angeles Times where he said that Chris Rock did not know about Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia beforehand. This is just one of the reasons why Kenny wants to see Smith lose his Best Actor award.
The 94th Academy Awards were going along as planned on March 27 when Chris Rock took the stage to present the award for best documentary film. While riffing with the crowd, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith's bald hairstyle, saying: "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2. Can't wait to see it." Will Smith perceived this as a joke about his wife's recent diagnosis with alopecia, which is how he explains his violent outburst – slapping Rock and cursing at him on live TV. To Kenny, this was a huge overreaction – especially since he claims that his brother did not know about the alopecia.
"The joke was funny. It wasn't hilarious funny, but I know that if he knew that she had alopecia... he wouldn't make a joke about that. But he didn't know," Kenny said. The L.A. Times reportedly talked to another "person close to Rock who was not authorized to comment," but they privately verified that Rock did not know about Pinkett Smith's alopecia.
Pinkett Smith revealed that she was diagnosed with alopecia areata in 2018. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, among many other symptoms. Pinkett Smith decided to shave her head in December of 2021, apparently as a way of accepting the inevitable hair loss. However, she has spoken about how sensitive she is about the subject on her talk show, Red Table Talk as well.
Chris Rock and Pinkett Smith have worked together several times in the past. All signs indicate that they were on friendly terms ahead of the Oscars 2022 ceremony. Fans have also pointed out that Rock co-wrote and narrated a documentary called Good Hair back in 2009, which is all about the history and culture of Black American women's hair.
There are many other factors at play in the case of Smith slapping Rock, but one that Kenny wanted to put particular focus on was Smith's belated apology. He felt that the actor did not do enough to make up for the attack and that the Academy was still slacking in this regard as well.
"It eats at me watching it over and over again because you've seen a loved one being attacked and there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "Every time I'm watching the videos, it's like a rendition that just keeps going over and over in my head. My brother was no threat to him and you just had no respect for him at that moment. You just belittled him in front of millions of people that watch the show."
"I might have looked at it differently had he initially apologized when he got on the stage and cried and accepted the award," Kenny went on, "but he didn't. So, right there that tells me that it is something else." As for Smith's public apology days later, Kenny said: "No, I don't accept it because I don't think it was genuine. I think his publicist and the people that work under him probably advised him to do that."