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It’s not who I want to be


94th Academy Awards - Show - Credit: Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

94th Academy Awards – Show – Credit: Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

After a shocking audience by slapping comedian Chris Rock during a live broadcast of the Oscars, Will Smith returned to late night television on Monday and sat down with Trevor Noah on The daily show.

The interview comes eight months after the Oscars controversy and a series of online statements regarding the incident. When Noah asked Smith about his experience after the infamous moment, Smith said it was a horrible night.

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There are many nuances and complexities. But at the end of the day, I just lost it, you know? continues the actor. I was going through something that night, you know? Not at all that this justifies my behavior. It was a lot of things. He was the little boy who saw his father beat his mother, you know? It all just bubbled up then. It’s not who I want to be.

Smith, who won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard Just minutes after the incident, the host also told, I guess the most painful thing for me is that I took my tough and made it hard for other people. Talking about what he learned in the months that followed, he also said, I got the idea when they say hurting people hurts people.

Noah, who leave the show at the end of next week, offered his own take on the controversy.

I love Chris. I am friends with him. I love you, but it’s fucked. I know as black people, black people come together and ask, what was Will doing? What the hell happened? said Noah. A lot of black people were like, he should go to jail. Like, you need to relax.

Smith also shared a personal anecdote after that night.

My nephew is nine years old. He’s the cutest little boy. We went back home. He had stayed up late to see his Uncle Will, Smith recalled. We’re sitting in my kitchen and he’s on my lap and he’s holding the Oscar and he’s just like, Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will? Damn it. Why are you trying to Oprah me?

The pair also discussed Smiths’ next film, Emancipation, a film inspired by the story behind Whipped Peter’s 1893 photos, including the infamous Scourged Back photo, which showed the back of a former slave named Gordon covered in whiplash scars. In a previous video interview with Fox 5Smith said he would totally understand if people aren’t ready to see Emancipationbut hopes the power of the film will outweigh the headlines that have followed it all year.

Noah ended the interview by saying controversy shouldn’t define Smith’s legacy. I don’t think any of us in life deserve to be defined by our bullshit alone, Noah told the actor.

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