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HomeLIFESTYLEChildren's Author and Anti-Bullying Advocate Shares How Oscars "Slap" Could Have Been...

Children’s Author and Anti-Bullying Advocate Shares How Oscars “Slap” Could Have Been Handled Differently

While it will soon be a week since the award-winning Will Smith slapped comedian and Oscars host Chris Rock for the G.I. Jane joke he made about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, many are still trying to decide who was in the right, who was in the wrong, was it bullying,  and what could have been done differently. 


Smith was once known as “The Nice Guy” in Hollywood so many fans and supporters were shocked by his actions. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), parents have even complained to the organization about Smith’s “violent act” that took place during the 94th Oscars saying that they had to have difficult conversations with their children afterward to explain what they had witnessed. 

What We’ve Learned So Far

As the week has continued on,  we’ve also learned that Smith has been dealing with a lot of stress, some of it stemming from the running joke about Pinkett-Smith’s entanglement with artist August Alsina and the Red Table Talk episode that was supposed to clear things up but only seemed to make matters worse. Others speculate that Rock’s joke triggered memories of Smith’s mom’s abuse at the hands of his dad and his feeling powerless. And then on Friday, Smith resigned from the Academy. 


In Rock’s defense, we learned that the comedian did not know that Pinkett-Smith battles with Alopecia areata, a hair loss condition that causes hair to fall out in patches. Meanwhile, videos and interviews of Rock discussing being bullied as a youth have also resurfaced. 


It’s a catchy situation either way you turn, but we decided to speak with children’s book author and founder of Every 1 Voice Matters, Sherrika Myers. Myers’s organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designed to help kids break down communicative and social barriers such as stuttering, bullying, and low self-esteem to improve their quality of life. As a national speaker and certified life coach, Myers travels the country spreading messages of hope. In the interview below, Myers and I discuss the messages Smith’s actions sent to children and how things could have been handled differently. 


Sherrika’s Reaction: 

Fancy: What were your thoughts when you saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock live during the Oscars? 


Sherrika: I was shocked! To me, this emphasized the importance of emotional health. We all witnessed the adverse effects of controlling your emotions. This is why inner-strength and self-love are two of my core values, which help in building habits to positively respond to others’ words and actions.




Fancy: What type of message do you think Smith’s action sends to the youth? 


Sherrika: Smith’s actions indicate that physical violence is the first response and is okay when you don’t agree with what someone else says about you. However, when you respond in this manner, you are allowing that person to have power over you. This is why more harmonious communication and relationships through social-emotional learning are so important.


Fancy: How would you explain his actions to children? 


Sherrika: I would first emphasize the importance of being able to control their actions and how violence is not the answer when you don’t agree with what someone has to say about you. I would tell them that when you are able to control who YOU are, how YOU respond to other people’s words or actions, and know that every action comes with a reaction; then you are able to better respond with the appropriate self-management and responsible decision-making skills.

What Could Have Been Done Differently? 


Fancy: How do you think the situation should have been handled? 


Sherrika: There are several ways I believe the situation could have been handled and violence is not one of them. I think Will Smith could have waited until there was a break and pulled Chris Rock aside to tell him how he felt, instead of a physical in-the-moment reaction. We must consciously take a moment to think before we act to better handle situations that come our way. 


Deeper Issues?


Fancy: While your work experience is mostly with children, do you believe that Smith’s actions were a result of low self-esteem? 


Sherrika: I believe his actions stemmed more from a lack of self-management, which can sometimes result from low self-esteem. Having your emotional health intact leads to better outcomes including self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness. This is why I teach children about the discipline of social-emotional learning so that they can grow into adulthood being able to better comprehend their emotions, feel those emotions fully and demonstrate empathy for others.


Fancy: On the flip side, do you consider Rock’s joke to be a form of bullying? 


Sherrika: Well, that depends on if he truly knew about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s situation regarding her health. If he did know and still proceeded to tell that joke, then yes. There are four types of bullying including physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. Verbal is one of the most common forms of bullying when you intentionally say something that you know will hurt another person and that is not okay.




In my opinion, there is pain on both sides in this event. I wish we could go back in time and change things as I am a fan of both Black men but of course, that’s not how life works. Hopefully, the men will be able to work past their differences but also do so in a public light so that children can witness their conflict resolution as well. 


To learn more about Sherrika or further connect, click below. 


Click below to review Lil Herbie Series video on Bullying


Francheska Felder
Francheska Felder
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is an award-winning editor, publisher, publicist, and quiet Southern media mogul. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the Black woman who likes to keep it real, which also doubles as a PR boutique. SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black women, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead, while the boutique strategically executes press and brand campaigns. The proud SU alum is also the publicist for Power Influence Radio and hostess of the CEO Chatter LIVE Podcast. Because she battles with bipolar disorder, Fancy is a proud mental health advocate.

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