Yes, yes, Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at The Oscars on Sunday, March 27 after Smith took offense at Rock’s jab at Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair. Whether a publicity stunt or a true display of husbandly gallantry, people are certainly talking.
But here in Houston, the real buzz should be directed to Beyoncé. Queen Bey, no stranger to the Academy Awards, opened the 94th awards with a dramatic performance of her song “Be Alive” from the Smith film King Richard. Smith scored an Oscar for Best Actor for the film that also received six total nominations.
Venus and Serena Williams introduced Queen Bey; apropos, as King Richard, the gripping biopic of their father, Richard Williams (Smith played him in the film) centers on his passionate and epic pursuit of greatness for his daughters. (Also apropos: Mathew Knowles is much-heralded in the industry for his work with his daughter Beyoncé, much like Richard Williams.)
Rather than a typical Dolby Theatre event, Beyonce’s “Be Alive” was straight outta Compton, the Los Angeles neighborhood where the Williams sisters honed their monumental skills. Shout outs to Compton were everywhere, including a poignant nod to the Compton Cowboys.
Speaking of nods, Beyoncé and her performers donned lime green outfits with white stripes, in an obvious homage to haute tennis-themed couture. As People points out, even the violins and music stands played to the theme. People adds that thoughtful details included the performers’ braids — noteworthy, as the Williams sisters often drew criticism for sporting them during high-profile tennis tournaments.
So while the nation analyzes (even micro-scrutinizing Smith’s blow frame-by-frame), Houstonians would do well to revisit our hometown girl’s grand-slam performance.