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Will Smith returns to awards show stage after Oscars slap

The embattled actor has appeared on stage for the first time since he spectacularly slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

The 54-year-old appeared Wednesday at the African American Film Critics Association Awards in Los Angeles, where he received the Beacon Award for his role in the recent AppleTV+ film “Emancipation.”

Smith accepted the Beacon Award alongside the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua.

“Emancipation was the individual most difficult film of my entire career,”

the actor said in his acceptance speech

Smith did not specifically mention the fallout from last year’s Oscars, where he charged the stage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

But the 54-year-old actor did suggest that “Emancipation” helped him grow as a person.

“I can’t go into all of it, but Peter has changed my life,” Smith told the crowd, adding that it was difficult to imagine the “level of inhumanity” directed toward slaves during the time period.

Rock, 58, will address the slap drama on his upcoming Netflix special “Selective Outrage,” airing on March 4.

A source told earlier this week that “the comedian is waiting to spill his humorous take on it” in the stand-up show.

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Written by Jamil Johnson