Since his 1996 murder, Pinkett has often expressed her love for 2Pac on both his birthday and death anniversaries. As a result, Smith has come to symbolise an ongoing joke, with many claiming Pinkett is still in love with 2Pac more than 25 years after his passing. Tony Rock, Chris Rock’s brother, claims that was the reason Smith hit the well-known comedian on live television at the 94th Annual Academy Awards in March.
Tony Rock claimed that Smith was fed up with being humiliated in front of his wife when he spoke on the Top Billin’ with Bill Bellamy podcast earlier this month. “I think that [Oscar Slap] was the accumulation of him being slapped on other levels,” Tony explained. “He said it himself, he always hated the ‘soft moniker.’ He’s soft, Jada won’t let 2Pac die, it’s always something about 2Pac and his daughter [Willow Smith] brought up 2Pac.”
“And I’m not bringing up family stuff that people don’t know… this is stuff that everybody knows.” “[Jada] commonly talks about Tupac, her [past] relationship with 2Pac,” he added. As a married man to this woman, you’re like, ‘Damn is what I’m doing not enough?'” When asked why Smith picked the Oscars to carry out the “slap heard around the world,” Tony allegedly said it was all about how Chris Rock made the G.I. Jane joke about Jada’s bald head.
“He wasn’t embarrassed, everybody saw the footage, he laughed first,” he said. “So that’s not embarrassment, he was laughing. In the time they cut to my brother and cut back, he [Will] was already up walking [to the stage]. So maybe it was the Jada look.” Chris Rock hasn’t actually discussed the slap in public, despite his pledge to do so if the money is good.
After Dave Chappelle was assaulted by 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, he did make a joke about the slap at The Hollywood Bowl in May. Chappelle shrugged it off once it was resolved and questioned whether a “trans guy” had attacked him. Chris Rock was inspired to ask, “Was that Will Smith?” by the chaotic scene. Of course, the audience then burst out into laughter.