‘Summer Of Soul’ producer says Will Smith “robbed” Questlove’s Oscar moment

"What both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment"

Summer Of Soul producer Joseph Patel has said that Will Smith “robbed” Questlove of his winning moment and last week’s Oscars.

Questlove was handed the Best Documentary statue by Chris Rock at this year’s ceremony, just moments after Smith slapped Rock onstage over a joke he made about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed she has alopecia.

Smith has been widely criticised for his outburst. While accepting the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard, he apologised to the Academy as well as his fellow nominees in the category.


He later issued a formal apology to Rock, admitting: “I was out of line and I was wrong.” The Oscars, meanwhile, launched a formal review into the incident while condemning Smith’s actions.

Today (March 31) Joseph Patel posted a lengthy thread on Twitter to share “some thoughts and feelings on what happened Sunday night”, adding that he’s “still sort of processing” everything.

“I think what Will did was selfish,” he continued. “It robbed the category of its moment. It robbed the other excellent and amazing films of their moment to be acknowledged in what was a STRONG year for docs.

“And it robbed Summer Of Soul and our team of our moment. Of a loud, enthusiastic cheer for a celebrated film.”


Patel continued: “I feel bad for Ahmir [Thompson, aka Questlove]. I feel bad for my fellow producers. I feel bad for our whole team. I feel bad for all the people watching and rooting for us. We were in shock walking to the stage -not because of winning but because we, too, were still trying to make sense of what happened.”

He went on to say that Questlove “handled the moment with grace” and delivered a winning speech “from the heart”, adding: “It was beautiful to see. I’m so deeply moved by how much he has grown in the last few years.”

Later, Patel expressed his anger at “Chris Rock lump[ing] me in as 1 of ‘4 white guys'” who worked alongside Questlove on Summer Of Soul as he announced the documentary had won.

“The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award,” he explained.

Patel added: “I’m a big boy – I can take a joke. Comedians make jokes. But not in that moment. What a shitty, disrespectful thing to do.”

However, he said that he’s currently “living in a place of absolute joy” over the victory. “I never need a statue to tell me how nice I am – but it sure helps,” Patel wrote.

“And what both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us. FIN.”

Meanwhile, Questlove has revealed that he missed the moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock because he was meditating at the time. “So when I opened my eyes, I didn’t realise,” he recalled. “‘Why is everyone so quiet?'”

Questlove continued: “As I’m walking to the stage, I’m kind of putting two and two together, and I realise that was a real moment like maybe three seconds before I spoke words.

“But in my mind, they were just doing a sketch or whatever, and I’m just like, ‘OK Ahmir, remember to thank your mom, your dad.’ So I was not present at all. I was just in a blank space.”

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