Willow Smith says that the media cycle and industry response to her father slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars ceremony didn’t “rock me as much as” as other issues she’s personally faced.
In an interview with Billboard, the 21-year-old singer and daughter of Will Smith addressed how the moment — which her father also recently opened up about in a lengthy Instagram post — has impacted her. She told the magazine that the attention and scrutiny that followed the incident ultimately hasn’t derailed her artistic endeavors, nor did it “rock 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 being human, and I love and accept them for all their humanness,” she says. “Because of the position that we’re in, our humanness sometimes isn’t accepted, and we’re expected to act in a way that isn’t conducive to a healthy human life and isn’t conducive to being honest.”
Last week, Will spoke about his behavior during the Academy Awards ceremony and after for the first time in a five-minute Instagram video. In it, he addressed many of the common questions that have come up about that night, which saw him take to the Dolby Theatre stage and slap Chris Rock after the comedian and presenter made an unscripted joke about the bald hairstyle of Jada Pinkett 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, in addition to offering another apology to the comedian that he also extended to members of Rock’s family. That was before he went on to apologize to others who may have been impacted by his decision that night, including fellow Oscars attendees, nominees and winners, and his own family.
“I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on,” Smith shared.
The actor later spoke about how his actions reflected on him as a person, noting that he’s “deeply remorseful” but trying to be so “without being ashamed” of himself.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So it hurts. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” he explained. “I’m a human and I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”
Following his actions at the 2022 awards show, the Oscar winner resigned from the Academy and has been banned from the prestigious industry group’s events for ten years.
“I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking,” Smith concluded his apology. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.”