Chris Rock’s opening monologue at this year’s #OscarsSoWhite stirred tremendous controversy—not least of all because of how the host targeted Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of the ceremony. Rock’s joke: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties—I wasn’t invited.”
As Colorlines’ editorial director Akiba Solomon wrote:
Rock spending all that oxygen on Pinkett Smith was sexist. She wasn’t the one who told him to quit his hosting gig; Tyrese Gibson and 50 Cent did that. Boycotter Spike Lee said essentially the same thing about Rock as Pinkett Smith did, that he was a friend whom he wished well. But somehow a woman stating the obvious—that the Oscars have a race problem—was just about her caping for her husband? Stop it.
Pinkett Smith offered her own response to the joke. People and Entertainment Weekly picked up a video from celebrity news tabloid x17online.com, which caught up with Pinkett Smith at an airport. She responded to a query about Rock by saying, “It comes with the territory, sweetheart,” and that ”We got to keep it moving, there’s a lot of stuff we got to handle, a lot of stuff in our world right now.”