When Chris Rock returned to the big screen in 2014, he was greeted by a crowd that seemed to be in the midst of a massive cultural awakening.
Rock had previously starred in the 2012 documentary Black Panther and in the 2014 comedy The Big Lebowski, but he was a long way from the popular comedian that he was on his own.
The comedian had been making headlines for his bizarre comments about African Americans, including the recent comment that the black community “is like the most degenerate, criminal, disgusting, sick community on the face of the earth.”
His performances, however, made the comedian a more palatable candidate for the role of Chris Rock.
The Philadelphia comedian was one of the first black actors to get a chance to make a living acting in movies, television shows, and other media.
In 2015, Rock was the subject of a much-publicized backlash after he made racially charged comments in a video that included a reference to his wife, Jennifer Lawrence.
As a result of the backlash, Rock apologized for the remarks and said he did not mean to be offensive.
“I know what I said was hurtful and I apologize,” he said at the time.
Rock’s role in Black Panther, which was released in 2018, had a decidedly darker tone than his earlier work.
At the time of the film’s release, Rock had already taken a backseat to Michael B. Jordan in the franchise’s superhero franchise.
According to THR, Black Panther had an estimated $8 million budget and an R-rating that was reportedly higher than The Avengers, which received an R rating due to the fact that the film was based on the Marvel Comics book Civil War.
Black Panther was Rock’s first big screen role in which he played a black character, and he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
Despite his acting career and being a leading member of the Black Panther movie team, Rock has since become known for controversial statements.
Last year, Rock made headlines for making racist comments about actor-comedian Hannibal Buress, who has a history of being racially insensitive.
Although he apologized for his comments, Rock said that he had a “tremendous amount of compassion” for Buress and said that “people who don’t believe in black people’s humanity and their potential should be silenced.”
Rock has also received criticism for his racially insensitive tweets and has faced backlash over other controversial statements, such as a statement made in 2015 when he told the audience that they should “shoot me in the face.”
In 2016, Rock also appeared in a short film called “The Man Who Saved America” about the life of African Americans who fought for their freedom during the Civil War.
The film was filmed in Georgia and was reportedly filmed in conjunction with the Black Lives Matter movement.
A statement from Black Lives Matters spokesperson Dwayne Williams said, “We want Chris Rock to know that he has the same right to free speech and freedom of speech as anyone else.”
The Black Panther franchise, which Rock co-created, is set to return to theaters in 2018.