Questlove Was ‘Rattled’ While Giving His Oscars Speech After The Will Smith Slap, He Confirms

At this year’s Academy Awards, Questlove got the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, for Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised). That was the biggest moment of his night, but the main takeaway of the event more broadly happened immediately before, when Chris Rock, who was on stage to present the documentary award, got slapped by Will Smith. Now, it seems Questlove confirmed that while giving his acceptance speech, he was (understandably) thrown off by what happened just moments earlier.

Yesterday, a Twitter user wrote, “I think the whole Will Smith assault rattled @questlove who had to give a speech like 90 seconds later. He couldn’t even remember the names of his co-winners. #Oscars.” Questlove responded with just an emoji of a fax machine. Emojipedia notes the fax machine emoji is “sometimes used in emoji form as an alternative to the words ‘facts,’ due to the similarity of pronunciation.” So, based on Questlove’s usage of it, it looks like he’s confirming he was indeed rattled while giving his speech.

Meanwhile, before sending that tweet, Questlove talked about the win on The Tonight Show yesterday, with neither him nor Jimmy Fallon directly mentioning Smith or Rock.

(Fallon tip-toed around the incident during his opening monologue but didn’t name any names there, either. Once he got back to his desk, though, he did note in passing while talking about this year’s ceremony, “The Will/Chris thing, I was just bummed, disturbed, I wish it didn’t happen.”)

Questlove told Fallon he was meditating during the commercial break before the award was presented. He also noted, “I realized that that was a real moment, like, maybe three seconds before I spoke words. In my mind, they’re just doing a sketch or whatever and I’m just like, ‘OK Ahmir, remember to thank your mom, your dad, thank Tariq [Trotter, aka Black Thought of The Roots]…’ So I was not present at all. I was just in a blank slate.”

Watch Questlove on The Tonight Show below.