'Today' host Craig Melvin says Will Smith’s Oscar incident is 'troubling' for men of color

·3 min read

It was the slap heard ’round the world.

TV audiences were shocked when Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face at the Academy Awards on Sunday night after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

And on Monday, unsurprisingly, Smith and Rock were on everyone’s minds — including Today show host Craig Melvin, who weighed in on Smith's behavior, speaking from the heart about how he feels it negatively impacts men of color.

“It was really disappointing," Melvin, a father of two, said on Monday morning's telecast. “If you’re rearing a boy, especially in this country, you spend so much time talking to our kids about keeping your hands to yourself, controlling your emotions,"

He continued: "And then there’s also this long-held perception in this country that men of color, especially, can’t control their rage and their anger, and to see someone who’s been that beloved for decades — it was troubling on so many levels."

The whole incident began on Sunday's Academy Awards when Rock came out to present an award for Best Documentary. While onstage, the comedian made a joke about Pinkett Smith.

"Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2 — can't wait to see it, all right?" Rock said, referencing the Red Table Talk host's bald head, which she has said in the past is due to her living with alopecia.

While Smith seemed to be laughing at first, his wife didn't look thrilled about the joke. That's when he stormed the stage and slapped the comedian in the face before returning to his seat.

“Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” Rock said after the incident.

"Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth," Smith yelled at Rock from the audience after returning his seat.

According to rapper Diddy, the duo have already made up.

"That’s not a problem. That’s over," Diddy told Page Six at the Vanity Fair after-party later that night. "I can confirm that. It's all love. They’re brothers."

He also spoke about it in his Instagram Stories: "I know sh*t is crazy," Diddy said in the video. "You know — sh*t happens sometimes."

"Chris Rock got a chin though," he added. "We're going to move on with love."

Smith went on to win an Oscar for his role in King Richard, during which he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the dustup. The Academy later tweeted about the incident, saying it "does not condone violence in any form."

Smith went on to enjoy the after-party festivities — including dancing to "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" as party-goers clustered around him enjoying every moment.

It was later reported that Rock decided not to press charges against Smith, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

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