IF Chris Rock’s face was the internet, Will Smith’s hand was thousands of impending thinkpieces. We’re currently in the thick of Slapgate discourse, with no end in sight.

You may be thinking ‘I have something to say about this thing that everyone else has something to say about’, but if this is your first unnecessary opinion piece you’re going to need some guidance.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to write your own Will Smith thinkpiece.


Before adding opinion 8,134 to the ongoing debate, take a second to consider not doing that. An important question to ask here is ‘Will my 20 paragraphs be as worthwhile a response as a video of the incident soundtracked by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme?

Unless you’re Chris Rock, Will Smith or Jada Pinkett Smith, the answer should be obvious.


Ah, you’re going ahead with it. No, no it’s fine.

Relax the reader by centering yourself in the story, as shown in the following example.

It’s 2009, and Kanye West invades the stage as Taylor Swift accepts her Best Female Video award at the MTV Music Video Awards. Following the rapper’s outburst, I thought “Well this will never be topped as far as awards ceremony hijinx go”.

As La La Land was mistakenly named winner of Moonlight’s 2017 Best Picture Oscar, I told myself “I will never again see anything this ridiculous at the Academy Awards”.

How naive those assumptions look now. If only there was some kind of memory eraser to ensure no-one would remember what I said. You know, like the neuralyzer deployed by Will Smith’s character in the Men in Black films.

Speaking of Will Smith…


Every single person reading the thinkpiece will have watched footage of the incident several times, but you can easily take a huge step towards meeting your word count by talking to the reader as if they’ve been wandering a post-apocalyptic landscape without WiFi.

Like Will Smith in I Am Legend.

Short version: Comedian Chris Rock makes cruel joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia, Pinkett Smith’s husband Will Smith laughs, husband notices wife not laughing, husband slaps comedian, husband tells comedian to “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth”, memes, thinkpieces and hastily-deleted heat-of-the-moment tweets ensue.


Having starred in numerous blockbusters and recorded several hit singles, Smith’s back catalogue provides plenty of opportunities to crowbar in a reference.

Try this: ‘The Independence Day star did not go quietly into the night, but the eerie silence that fell upon LA’s Dolby Theatre following Smith’s slap will

only be matched by what his agent hears from Hollywood casting directors. 30 years on from his Fresh Prince heyday, Smith still knows how to shake, shake, shake a room’.


For all that Rock’s joke and Smith’s response have driven debate on serious and worthy subjects, it is undeniably hilarious that the man got out his seat, slapped the host, sat back down and then received the greatest accolade of his career a few minutes later.

A tearful Smith duly accepted his award with a speech so rambling, defensive and misjudged it appears to have been written by the guy behind Rangers Football Club’s official statements.


Ultimately, you have to come down on one side of the fence. You’ll want to ensure your opinion plays into the existing bias and prejudices of your publication’s audience.

If you’re writing for a right-wing newspaper, this means deciding whether the woke snowflake is Smith, Rock, Hollywood, Twitter or Meghan Markle and working from there.

If you’re being published in a specialist publication, ham-fistedly link your niche interest to the trending topic with a headline along the lines of ‘What Will Smith’s Oscars slap can teach us about horses and hounds/Jodie Whittaker’s stint as Doctor Who/Saturday’s match between Rangers and Celtic’.

If you’re employed by a clickbait site, you can stick a generic opinion (e.g. ‘Nasty jokes are bad and so is slapping people’) at the bottom of a 180-word piece targeted at Google’s search algorithm.

Take your pick from ‘Who is Jada Pinkett Smith? Age, husband and Oscar controversy’, ‘What is Will Smith’s net worth?’, ‘Will Smith slaps Chris Rock and Twitter is NOT playing’ and ‘What is Chris Rock’s net worth?’.

Or, turn a comedian being slapped into a 1200-word metaphor for Ukraine. You’re smart enough to pull that off.


As you wrap up, you’ll want to emphasise that your Will Smith thinkpiece is the definitive Will Smith thinkpiece, while simultaneously assuring your readers that you’re not so tedious as to devote your weekly column to the same topic as everyone else’s.

Go with: ‘But this isn’t about Chris, Will or Jada. This is about who we are as a society. You’ll read a lot of tossed-off takes about the incident, but this message is anything but disposable…



‘...no, this bad boy’s for life’.