“This is a really important ‘Red Table Talk’ about alopecia. Considering what I’ve been through with my health and what happened at the Oscars, thousands have reached out to me with their stories,” she said in an introduction to the episode.
“Now, about Oscar night,” Pinkett Smith said. Since that night, Smith has resigned from the academy and was banned from attending Oscar ceremonies for 10 years; Rock has given no public statements about the incident. “My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile. The state of the world today, we need them both,” she continued. “Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together.”
And with that, the “Girls Trip” star pivoted to an emotional conversation with Nicole Ball, whose 12-year-old daughter, Rio, died by suicide after being bullied at school for her alopecia areata, which caused her to lose her hair.
Two weeks after Rio’s death, the 94th Academy Awards aired live from Los Angeles. Pinkett Smith and her husband, who would go on to win the Oscar for his role in “King Richard” later that evening, sat in the front row as Rock joked that the actress looked like she was auditioning for “G.I. Jane 2.”
“It is not a joke,” Ball said of the medical condition.
Since 2018, Pinkett Smith has been public about her struggles with the disease. “There was so much shame,” she said on Wednesday’s show, which also featured a doctor who explained the condition.
Pinkett Smith will probably address the Oscars controversy and its other far-reaching effects later this season on her show. Less than a month after the slap happened, she opened the season premiere of her online talk series with this statement: “Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing. Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls.”