Jada Pinkett Smith turned her husband’s Oscars outing into a teachable moment about alopecia areata, the hair loss disorder that affects her and millions of others and can, in some cases, alter a sense of identity. of those who suffer from it.
“Given what I’ve been through with my own health and what happened at the Oscars, thousands have reached out to me with their stories,” Pinkett Smith said on Wednesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk.”
The actress said she chose to use “this moment to give the family with alopecia a chance to talk about what it’s like to have this condition” and what it is. Her guests included Rio Allred’s mother, a girl who was bullied for her hair loss and died by suicide at age 12, and a doctor who explained the different variants of the disorder.
Before speaking on the subject, Pinkett Smith addressed what happened at the Academy Awards on March 27. She and her husband Will Smith, a best actor nominee, were ringside when host Chris Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s appearance.
“Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it,” said Rock. Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her alopecia, wore her head shaved in a style similar to Demi Moore’s in the 1997 film.
Smith got up from his seat, went on stage and slapped Rock, shocking the comedian and the audience. Smith, who returned to his seat and later received the Oscar for his work on “King Richard” (“King Richard: A Winning Family”), later apologized to Rock, but the academy barred him from attending the ceremony. for 10 years.
“Going into Oscar night, my greatest hope is that these two smart and capable men get a chance to heal, talk about this and make up,” Pinkett Smith said on “Red Table Talk” in an oblique reference to Smith and Rock. “The world being the way it is, we need both of them, and in fact we all need each other more than ever.”
“Until then, Will and I will continue to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that is to continue to understand this thing called life together,” said Pinkett Smith, who had previously referred to the incident in a brief post on Instagram. that in which he wrote: “This is a season of healing and I am here for it.”
The actress of films such as “Girls Trip” (“Girls Plan”) and “Matrix”, who hosts the Facebook Watch program with her daughter Willow and her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, said that millions of people live with alopecia and which she called the “shame” that surrounds her. The disease, especially for black women, can affect people’s perception of themselves and force them to frequently confront others’ ideas of beauty, race and culture.
Rio’s mother, Nicole Ball, recalled the impact of the incident at the Oscars, which occurred less than two weeks after her daughter’s death.
“What is the universe doing right now? This is crazy,” Ball recalled thinking. “People are going to Google, ‘what is alopecia?… What is this thing that we’ve never heard of?’ It’s not a joke”.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, the disorder affects up to 6.8 million people in the United States of any age, gender, and ethnic group, and symptoms can vary.
“I think what makes it more difficult is that it comes and goes. You’re going through a bit of relief or something and you have to shave your head,” Pinkett Smith said.