Anyone familiar with 2Pac’s past knows about his relationship with Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett. The two met in the 1990s at the Baltimore School for The Arts and struck up a platonic friendship, although many speculate their relationship went deeper than that.
Over the years, Pinkett has made her love for 2Pac abundantly clear on every birthday and death anniversary since his 1996 murder. In the process, Smith has become a running joke, with many alleging Pinkett is in love with 2Pac over 25 years after his death.
According to Chris Rock’s brother Tony, that’s precisely the reason Smith smacked the famed comedian on live television during the 94th Annual Academy Awards in March. Speaking to the Top Billin’ with Bill Bellamy podcast earlier this month, Tony Rock speculated Smith was tired of being emasculated in front of his wife.
“I think that [Oscar Slap] was the accumulation of him being slapped on other levels,” he 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.”
He added, “[Jada] commonly talks about Tupac, her [past] relationship with 2Pac. As a married man to this woman, you’re like, ‘Damn is what I’m doing not enough?’”
As for why Smith chose the Oscars to execute the “slap heard around the world,” he suggested it was all about how Pinkett looked at Smith after Chris Rock made the G.I. Jane joke about her 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 really talked about the incident publicly, although he did promise he would if the money is right. He did crack a joke about the slap during Dave Chappelle’s set at The Hollywood Bowl in May after he was attacked by 23-year-old Isaiah Lee.
After the situation was diffused, Chappelle laughed it off and wondered if it was a “trans man” who’d attacked him. The wild scene prompted Chris Rock to ask, “Was that Will Smith?” The crowd, of course, erupted in laughter.