Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Tatyana Ali is weighing in on Will Smith’s Oscars slap.
The actress, who played Will’s younger cousin Ashley Banks, shared her thoughts about his outburst after taking a week to digest the shocking moment. She said what he did was wrong, but she still believes in him.
“I love #WillSmith very much,” Ali tweeted on Sunday — one week after Smith slapped and cursed out stunned Oscars presenter Chris Rock for a GI Jane joke. “@chrisrock didn’t deserve to be hit. Period.”
Ali said her “heart aches for what has happened. I don’t know what caused that chaos & confusion, but I do know that Will has a big heart. I’ve seen him many times try his best to do what is right. I believe in him.”
She also shared the tweet on Instagram with the caption: “Took me a while to get my thoughts together. Right is right, wrong is wrong, and love is love.”
Ali has called being on Fresh Prince in the ’90s as a tween and teen “a gift of a lifetime.” She participated in the HBO Max reunion in 2020, which she said renewed the bond of the former co-stars.
“After the meeting, we’re all on a group text, so that’s really fun,” she told pace last year. She said they had “so much fun at the reunion. They just filmed us talking for two days straight.”
Ali’s stayed close to Smith anyway. In February, she was at the premiere of spinoff prequel Bel Air, posing for photos with the Best Actor winner, who produces the show, as well as former co-stars Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey, and Vernee Watson-Johnson, who was Will’s mom Vy.
She’s also attended many of Smith’s premieres, including Hancock and Seven Pounds. And there have been many unofficial cast meetings through the years.
Last week, the Academy launched an investigation into Smith’s slap, which he said was sparked by Rock making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she has been suffering from hair loss.
Smith apologized after the awards show to Rock, who hasn’t responded publicly. On Friday, Smith resigned as an Academy member, calling his actions “painful and inexcusable” in another apology.