Following the ‘Slap heard round the world’ Jada Pinkett Smith recently spoke out about her alopecia and the public altercation between her husband Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony. Smith charged the stage, striking the show host after he made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s hair. Or lack of.
The Hollywood star’s candid discussion about her affliction brought the medical condition alopecia into the spotlight. It is an autoimmune disease that results in baldness and hair loss, effecting the scalp or other parts of the body. About 7 million people in the U.S. have or will develop alopecia areata during their lifetime. That’s according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Pinkett Smith has discussed her hair loss on several occasions, finally going as far as shaving her head in a close-cropped style. Earlier this month, she used the platform of her Facebook Watch show ‘Red Table Talk” to open a dialogue and discuss the condition which many people had never heard of.
Joined by her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Pinkett Smith admitted her hair loss is a constant struggle. At one point she said, “it’s stressful because a patch grows and then another patch comes out, and that gives me a lot of anxiety. ‘Oh, what’s my hair going to look like today?’ “
The Alopecia foundation describes several forms of the disease based on scope of hair loss. They include.
- Alopecia areata patchy — The most common form, with one or more coin-sized hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body
- Alopecia totalis — Total loss of the hair on the scalp
- Alopecia universalis — Complete loss of hair on the scalp, face and body
People of all ages, sexes and races can develop alopecia, but it often arises in childhood. One of the reasons Pinkett Smith devoted an episode of her show to her hair loss was to remove some of the stigma that children experience. She stated people are afraid to talk about it due to a sense of shame.
Before devoting the episode to alopecia, Pinkett Smith opened the show discussing Oscar night stating, “My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile.” Chris Rock was not hearing it from her.