Questlove is the only person who got to block out The Slap
He was deep in a meditative state, where we wish we all were too.
At this year’s Oscars, Questlove’s debut film Summer of Soul won for best documentary feature — right after Will Smith slapped the daylights out of Chris Rock, the presenter for his category. Fortuitously, Questlove remained blissfully unaware of the whole situation as it unfolded because he was busy meditating. See, people? Mindfulness saves lives (well, it saves people from overwhelming and relentlessly discussed drama).
On Monday's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Questlove was interviewed about his Oscar win for his documentary, about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a historic music event that largely went under the radar until his film gave it the recognition it deserves. During the interview, Questlove told Fallon about how he missed the entire slapping charade because he was in a meditative state. He says it was as if his mother was the only other person in the room with him. “I was not present at all,” he said. Watching his acceptance speech, it was evident how centered he was in the moment versus distracted by what happened just moments before.
In the interview, Questlove says he learned about transcendental meditation two years ago from Jerry Seinfeld, who has been a proponent of the practice for many years. The highly lauded (yet somewhat controversial) school of meditation aims at helping people avoid distracting thoughts by promoting a state of relaxed awareness. Typically, a person practicing transcendental meditation sits in a comfortable position with their eyes closed silently repeating a mantra, which is exactly what the now-Oscar winner was doing when that A-list altercation occurred.
“When I opened my eyes, I didn't realize, like, why is everyone so quiet? Like, I literally was not present for that whole entire moment,” Questlove says,"And as I'm walking to the stage, I'm kind of putting two and two together and I realize that that was a real moment, like, maybe three seconds before I spoke words.”
Let’s all agree that his timing was fantastic. If I slipped off into my own world everytime a slap fight (or equivalent drama) ensued, I’d be a much more relaxed human. Still, Questlove’s experience is a reminder that having a mindfulness practice can be extremely beneficial, even in a room full of high-wattage stars in high-stress moments. The man knew he had to make it through the ceremony and then work a gig (deejaying Jay Z and Beyoncé’s Oscars afterparty) afterward. Yet, his chill was on 10, and he floated above the drama. It seems the universe is on Questlove's side, and we are too.
A note to the meditation-curious: You don't need to be sitting cross legged saying “om” to achieve inner peace, either — there are plenty of meditation techniques that are well suited for those of us anxious individuals who aren’t great at quelling the fidgets.