Lupita Nyong’o Admits She Knew She ‘Was Going to Be a Meme’ After Will Smith’s Oscars Slap

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Monika Ahuja
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  • Nyong’o initially appeared confused about how to react to the slap, but photos of her that went viral show her looking on in shock.
  • Nyong’o, 39, also remarked that she knew she would become a meme as soon as the event was done, given that she was sitting directly behind the couple in the audience.
  • When the incident was done, Nyong’o recalled thinking, “Once the moment was over, I realized, ‘Oh my God, there’s no way all this transpired, and I’m not in the shot.”

On March 27, Chris Rock, 57, commented about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, who has the medical ailment alopecia, and compared it to G.I. Jane. The King Richard actor, Will Smith, 54, stormed the stage and slapped the comedian. 

Later, Will, who went on to win Best Actor, claimed that the punchline was “too much for me to handle” and that he “reacted emotionally.” He then resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which barred him from the organization’s activities for ten years, and repeatedly apologized to Rock.

Smith was sitting next to Nyong’o, and soon after the startling event, a meme of Nyong’o appeared to gasp its way around the Internet.

With the benefit of hindsight, Nyong’o discussed the meme-sparking incident with Rebecca Keegan for the Hollywood Reporter. Nyong’o will next be seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

When the incident was done, Nyong’o recalled thinking, “Oh my God, there’s no way all this transpired, and I’m not in the shot,” according to a cover story feature that was released on Wednesday. “I knew as soon as it was over that I was going to be a meme.”

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Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t shocked that The Slap’s exhaustive media coverage led to her becoming a meme earlier this year. In fact, the Oscar-winning actress admitted in a recent interview that she “knew as soon as it was finished” that a lasting impression would be made. 

It doesn’t seem as though Nyong’o would be interested in discussing the incident further, which saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

Quite frankly, she replied, “I don’t want to put any more fuel to that thing.”

Nyong’o is preparing for the release of the eagerly anticipated Black Panther sequel, which will continue without Chadwick Boseman as the film’s original hero.

On November 11, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theatres.

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