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Will Smith explains Oscars slap, offers second apology to Chris Rock and family



The Oscar winner posted a new video message — one of his first public statements since the Oscars — to his Instagram on Friday.

By Justina Terhember

Will Smith says “there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment” when explaining his decision to slap Chris Rock during the March 2022 Oscars ceremony. In a new Instagram video (below), the King Richard star answers a series of questions about that night, offering up yet another apology to Rock while also discussing the impact it had on Rock’s family; whether he was responding to his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s eye roll when he took the stage; the effects his actions had on the night’s other nominees and winners; and more.

“I was fogged out by that point,” Smith says, explaining why it took so long to offer Rock an apology. “It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.”

Smith goes on to address Rock directly, saying he’s “here whenever you’re ready to talk,” before offering up an apology to Rock’s mother and brother Tony Rock.

“That was one of the things about that moment I just didn’t realize,” Smith reflects. “I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. So, I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I want to apologize to Chris’ family — specifically, Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man, and this is probably irreparable.”

Smith also answered a question about whether his reaction was in response to his wife’s eye roll following Rock’s joke about her baldness, which many noted may have been a sensitive topic due to her alopecia. “I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do [with it],” Smith said, before acknowledging the “heat” his wife and kids have taken.

Toward the end of the video, Smith acknowledges how his actions impacted his fellow nominees. “It really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment,” Smith says, addressing Questlove, who took the Oscars stage right after the incident to accept the award for best feature documentary for his project Summer of Soul. “Sorry isn’t really sufficient.”

This is the third apology in some form that Smith has offered up since the Oscars 2022 incident, in which the best actor winner took to the Dolby Theatre stage and slapped comedian Rock after he made an unscripted G.I. Jane joke about Pinkett Smith’s baldness while presenting the award for best documentary feature.

Since then, Smith announced he was resigning from the Academy and has been banned from appearing at Academy events for 10 years. He is still, however, eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins, and will retain the Oscar that he won during the 2022 ceremony.

Several of Smith’s upcoming projects are seemingly in limbo. Fast and Loose, which centers on a crime boss who loses his memory, had previously lost its director ahead of the Oscars incident, but according to sources, was quietly put on the back burner by Netflix. Sony’s Bad Boys 4, also in active development during the Oscars season, was also paused.


#SeunSays: The fresh surprise that is ‘Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham’



Our columnist expresses shock and joy (though mostly shock) at what he found within DC’s latest Batman animated offering.

By Seun Odukoya

As much as I love The Caped Crusader (if you do not know who that is, maybe you shouldn’t go any further), I do not consider myself his #1 fan. If an actual ‘top fans list’ was created, I don’t think I would be in the first hundred, or even two hundred. Honestly. I say this because the only Batman merch I own are comics and maybe a t-shirt/hoodie or two. I do not own a single action figure (a friend gave me one once, but it vanished from my house) I do own a miniature Batmobile and a grapnel, but that’s about it. But I digress.

While I may not own any other Batman stuff, I own quite a bit of his books. And I have read quite a bit more. I said all that to say this: rarely have I consumed Batman material in recent times that surprised me. Impressed me? Oh, for sure. Engaged and inspired me? Definitely. Surprised me? Not so much. ‘Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham’ animated movie surprised me.

I said all that to say this: rarely have I consumed Batman material in recent times that surprised me.

The title is a reference to ‘The Doom That Came To Sarnath’, a story by HP Lovecraft, the creator of the Cthulhu mythos (do not bite your tongue trying to pronounce that). Now, I read the comics years ago. I had a bit of Mike Mignola fever at the time, brought on by Hellboy. I consumed all the Mignola material I could find. I didn’t enjoy ‘The Doom’ much, however. Possibly because I am not a fan of Cthulhu mythos and the particular story’s ending was depressing. I’d hoped that would be changed in the animated film.

No such luck. Still, I did enjoy the cartoon a lot more than I expect to, so much that I watched it twice in as many days. It’s a simple premise: Scientist Oswald Cobblepot (mind blown) disappears while exploring the Antarctic, and Bruce Wayne is somehow tracking him despite having not been in Gotham for twenty years. Bruce is not alone: Dick Grayson, Sanjay Tawde, and Kai Lin Cain, his adopted kids – and of course, the ever-present Alfred, are all with him. They find Cobblepot shipwrecked and his crew dead. A naked figure surrounded by some birds appears over the horizon and Bruce follows. What he finds is the last of Cobblepot’s crew, a man named Grendon, digging at a huge mound, with some beast behind it. After a skirmish with some mutated birds, Bruce destroys the mound with dynamite and carries an apparently dead Grendon back to Gotham.

‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things about Batman is how malleable the character’s mythos is. I can write a Batman story in 3AD Yorubaland, and it would just be business as usual for the Dark Knight.

While reading through Cobblepot’s journal, he finds clues that allude to a cult he was already investigating, a society with ancient ties to Gotham. They get to Gotham and are welcomed into Wayne Manor by Kirk Langstrom’s corpse and surprise guest Jason Blood, coming to deliver three cryptic prophesies. And then, all hell breaks loose. The doom does come to Gotham.

‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things about Batman is how malleable the character’s mythos is. I can write a Batman story in 3AD Yorubaland and it would just be business as usual for the Dark Knight. Not a lot of characters are that fluid. I mean, Cobblepot a scientist? Take my money now!

A good chunk of Batman’s rogue’s gallery gets reimagined: Killer Croc is a mindless monster in the thrall of Talia al Ghul who is eviller, more bloodthirsty, and more loyal to her father than her pre-New 52 version. Ra’s al Ghul is a mystical guru/Rasputin lookalike who seeks to restore the ancient Snake civilization to their former glory. Oliver Queen is a hard-drinking, spoilt playboy who is Bruce’s best friend but is hiding some deep, dark secret from said best friend. Gordon is Gordon, and Barbara Gordon is a hard-drinking Oracle – literally. Harvey Dent is Harvey…as in, somehow, he is always Two-Faced.

Of course, the voice cast is excellent as always. Batfans know; no one can replace the legendary Kevin Conroy when it comes to that voice. However, David Giuntoli’s performance is not bad at all, considering he had already voiced Batman once before in Soul of the Dragon. Tati Gabrielle is Kati Li Cain, Brian George is Alfred, Christopher Gorham is Oliver Queen, Emily O’Brien plays Talia al Ghul, Navid Negahban is Ra’s, William Salyers is Cobblepot, Gideon Adlon plays Oracle, John DiMaggio is James Gordon, and Patrick Fabian is Harvey Dent.

Selina Kyle is conspicuously missing – but it’s a good thing. There’s still quite a lot to explore in Batman’s world without a love interest. The Joker is also missing, but his absence I applauded. That is a character I’m tired of, with every Batman live-action director eager to put their own spin on the character. But again, I digress. ‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ closes out at 126 minutes (plus credits), and is worth every minute of that viewing time. Batman hardly fails to deliver, and this is another solid entry into that catalogue.

Odukoya lives and writes in Lagos.

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Mo Abudu, Idris Elba partner to support African talent with education, development opportunities



Media mogul Mo Abudu and Hollywood star Idris Elba are joining forces to empower talent from Africa and the diaspora through their respective production companies, Green Door Pictures and EbonyLife Media, per a report on Variety. The new partnership aims to provide opportunities through capacity building as well as large-scale global productions. New education and mentoring initiatives will launch through the partnership to foster both the lost generation and a new generation of creatives.

Through their collaboration, Elba and Abudu aim to nurture a more inclusive and diverse media landscape for stories from Africa and its diaspora. They are calling on industry leaders, the wider public sector, governments and multilateral agencies to help them grow talent globally and build capacity around the continent of Africa.

Abudu and Elba want to build on industry education in order to support and empower African talent. This will be achieved primarily through EbonyLife’s Creative Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, which will support graduates from the program.

The duo will also create a new development slate of stories originating out of Africa or set in the diaspora as feature films and TV series for the global market. The slate will focus on bringing authentic, Afro-centric stories that resonate with audiences around the world. The co-productions will target broadcasters and streamers as well as the theatrical market.

Abudu added: “We believe that Africa has the talent and the stories to captivate the world. It’s our mission to offer the best in industry education, mentorship, and production opportunities, so that our graduates can become valuable contributors to the global media landscape. We plan to hit the ground running and explore the very best that African and Black stories have to offer global audiences.”

Elba said: “I have always been passionate about using my platform to make a positive impact. By partnering with Mo, we aim to offer free, world-class industry education to the next generation of storytellers and bring their authentic voices to the forefront. This partnership is a step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse media landscape, one that represents the voices and experiences of Africa and its diaspora around the world.”

Source: Variety

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‘Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres early in Nigeria today



The third movie in the pint-sized Marvel hero’s franchise, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ has been premiered in Nigeria today, earlier than expected by a full 24 hours. While good news for teeming fans, the early-bird reviews the flick has been receiving have been less than stellar. One particularly caustic review likened it to Marvel’s biggest bomb, ‘The Eternals’. Whether the negative word-of-mouth will cause a chink in the film’s armour remains to be seen, as sometimes critics and the paying public have divergent views.

All the theatres across major Nigerian cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Porth Harcourt, which are part of major chains, have updated info online showing double viewings in both regular and 3-D versions.

All the theatres across major Nigerian cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Porth Harcourt, which are part of major chains, have updated info online showing double viewings in both regular and 3-D versions.

The new movie takes place almost entirely in the Quantum Realm, a mutating sub-atomic sphere that exists outside our space-time continuum. It’s essentially an anything-goes FX playground, where our heroes (Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily as the titular masked crusaders) go for their new adventure, seeing the introduction of classic baddie MODOK, as well as the MCU’s next major villain, Kang the Conqueror, played commandingly by Jonathan Majors.

The story is said to be a crucial one for the next direction the sprawling Marvel cinematic universe heads to.

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