Denzel Washington tells Bishop TD Jakes that only prayer resolves Will Smith-Chris Rock incident

Bishop TD Jakes has advised presidents and led global humanitarian efforts, but even he wasn’t sure what to make of the 94th Academy Awards last week when actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock.

Jakes, senior pastor and founder of The Potter’s House in Dallas, addressed the incident Saturday in a discussion with Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington as part of Jakes’ International Leadership Summit in Charlotte, NC

Their discussion drew 4.7 million YouTube views and nearly 17,000 comments by Tuesday morning.

At the Academy Awards, Smith strode from his front-row Dolby Theater seat onto the stage and smacked Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith later resigned from the motion picture academy, saying in a statement that his actions were “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”

Washington was at the International Leadership Summit to discuss his career and faith. Jakes used the opportunity to get Washington’s take on the incident.

“You tell us: What happened? What happened? What happened?” Jakes asked Washington. “These legends got into a fight in front of the world. What happened?”

Washington (left) prayed over conference attendees with Jakes during their discussion Saturday.(Nell Redmond/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Washington seemed to anticipate the question, smiled and answered:

“There’s a saying: When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong. The devil goes, ‘Oh, no, leave him alone. He’s my favorite,’” Washington told Jakes, before turning solemn in elaborating.

“Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because you’re trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of that circumstance that night,” Washington said.

Washington, who was nominated for macbethalso was seated near the front of the stage and was seen with writer-director Tyler Perry talking to Smith after the incident, just before Smith accepted his best-actor Oscar win for King Richard.

“I couldn’t have sat in my seat. No way I could have sat in my seat,” Washington said. “That’s just not who I am.”

Washington didn’t discuss what was said between the men and also declined to condemn Smith.

“There but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn?” Washington asked. “I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer.”

TD Jakes poses for a photo at Capella Park on Friday, July 2, 2021, in Dallas.  Capella Park...

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