By now you’ve heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars after Rock told a bad joke related to Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia.
I’m less interested in talking about The Slap™ however and more interested in talking about something that happened mere moments later. A photo captured Will Smith being spoken to by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry a few feet away from the Oscars stage during the first commercial break that came after the altercation.
There’s not much known to the public about what was said during the conversation aside from what Smith said during this acceptance speech when told the audience that Washington said “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” Reportedly Washington also went to comfort Pinkett Smith after speaking with Smith.
It's a moment that’s gotten lost in all the chaos of the discourse that’s been generated after the events that unfolded. A moment of tenderness and love that resembles so much of what’s missing from the current conversation around Smith’s actions.
Regardless of how you feel about Smith’s action – disappointed, elated, angry, bemused – I’ve been frustrated about certain reactions that have fixated on wanting the actor to receive carceral punishment. Many people both in and outside the legal system view hitting someone without physical provocation to be illegal, punishable by imprisonment or at least some form of state sanctioned penalty such as probation or community service. But the calls to incarcerate Smith seem to ignore the fact that Rock has reportedly already declined to press charges against Smith, thus begging the question: who is it that we are protecting by insisting on carceral solutions if the person harmed here is not interested in pursuing any legal recourse?
The supposed violence people seem to be reacting to is not even the violence that allows for Rock to make a joke minimizing Jada’s health and using it as comedic fodder for a (mostly) white audience. The harm they’re reacting to has even less to do with Smith’s hand swiftly connecting to Rock’s face. It’s about forcing people to contend with impolite emotions and reactions in public. It’s the violence of violating the rule of civility in the face of oppression that white institutions such as the Oscars cloak themselves in. It’s evident by how many people have suggested that Smith should’ve just confronted Rock behind the scenes instead of on stage for all to see. Or how people who claim “violence is never the answer” can so easily suggest an inherently violent place like prison as a solution for every single problem that arises in our society. “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings,” as Angela Davis wrote.
If a Black man who has had a professional and personal reputation of being one of the nicest men in Hollywood for over the course of his three-decade career can immediately be villainized, I shudder at the thought of the way people are treating the Black boys and Black men in their everyday lives with considerably less social and monetary capital. Even the way white people continue to reconfigure Rock as a white person (“what if he were Betty White?!” What if he were Bob Saget?!”) in their supposed defense of Rock shows the limits of their concern and that they can’t even summon sympathy for the Black man that they’re claiming was harmed without casting themselves as the victims.
People struggle to imagine what accountability looks like without prisons but we must. Accountability in this situation could look like Smith, Pinkett-Smith, and Rock coming together to have a private conversation about what transpired and then bringing it to a public platform like Pinkett-Smith’s talk show Red Table Talk to have a discussion about alopecia, as well as ableism and misogynoir in comedy. And sometimes accountability looks like being pulled to the side by an elder like Washington that will gently but firmly correct you. Accountability is an act of love and community. And Sunday night showed us a brief glimpse of what that looks like.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
We, as women, pray to God for the type of husband we want, but do we pray for the type of friends we need? Many women often imitate singer Ciara’s prayer, hoping it will, too, lead them to their “Russell Wilson” – an equally yoked partner.
Yes, finding a life partner is a dream many hold close to their hearts, but how often do we put the same energy into asking for the friends that resonate with our souls? As with romantic relationships, our circle of friends can make or break us. Therefore, it is important to pray for our "tribe" with as much intention as we do for a life partner.
Our friends aren't just companions for brunches and spa days. They deeply influence our daily decisions, shape our outlook on life, and play a crucial role in our emotional well-being. True friends can elevate our spirits during life's troughs and cheer us on during its peaks. On the other hand, friendships that harbor negativity or toxicity can sap our energy, hinder our aspirations, and diminish our self-worth. This underscores the imperative of surrounding ourselves with the right tribe, a circle that fosters growth, ensures mental well-being, and champions genuine happiness.
Wouldn’t you want to be seen as a prize by your friends, like you wish to be seen as one by your future man?
When Ciara navigated the painful waters of her breakup with rapper Future, the “Level Up” singer didn’t leave her future to chance; she envisioned her ideal partner. She actively, consciously, and spiritually prayed for the type of man she wanted as a partner. This wasn't just about a rebound or a short-term fix. It was about intention, clarity, and knowing her worth. The universe answered in the form of Russell Wilson, a beacon of their love story many now admire.
And after years of women wondering what exactly she said in her prayers, she finally revealed it. The singer recorded her purported prayer on Summer Walker’s sophomore album, “Still Over It,” released in November 2021.
Her words had social media in a chokehold, as women and men alike uttered her words in every relationship video they would post.
Choosing Your Friends Wisely
It is pivotal for us to visualize the friends we desire. Consider: Are they genuinely supportive? Are they the kind of friends who push us forward without pushing us down? Do they offer loyalty without conditions? By detailing these attributes in our prayers or intentions, we offer a roadmap to the universe, directing it to the companions we seek.
While it might be tempting to seek out friends who fit into societal molds of “fun” or “popular,” genuine connection demands more. We should crave friendships that go beyond the superficial, where understanding transcends words, where challenges breed growth, and where loyalty isn't seasonal. It's not merely about someone to share mimosas with but about nurturing connections that understand and amplify our life's journey.
When our tribe aligns with our spirit, the transformation is holistic. With the right friends, our confidence doesn't just grow; it soars. We're exposed to broader perspectives, and our horizons expand beyond the familiar. The positivity emanating from such a tribe influences every corner of our lives, creating ripples of change and growth.
However, you must also ensure you’re ready for what you’re praying for. In my opinion, it is unfair to ask God to deliver friends who pour into you, but you do not pour into them. While prayer sets our intentions, our actions seal the deal. Seeking the right tribe means putting ourselves in environments that reflect our values and interests. Whether attending themed events, volunteering for a cause close to our hearts, or joining groups with shared interests, our actions echo our prayers, resonating with the universe.
Embarking to find the perfect partner holds depth, but equally significant is the odyssey of curating our tribe. The right friends don't just accompany us; they shape our lives in unparalleled ways. When we direct our intentions and actions toward finding our tribe, we aren't merely forming bonds; we're crafting our destiny. The adage goes: "Show me your friends, and I'll unveil your future." Elevate your tribe to a priority, nurture those bonds, and behold the transformative magic unfold.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by FG Trade/ Getty Images