Jada Pinkett Smith on Wednesday finally addressed Oscar night on her weekly Red Table Talk.
Before launching into a show that addresses the 147 million people living with alopecia “including me,” Smith began her show with her first public statement about the Academy Awards on March 27 and how her husband Will slapped Chris Rock on stage after the comic made a joke about her appearance.
“This is a really important Red Table Talk on alopecia. Considering what I’ve been through with my own health and what happened at the Oscars, thousands have reached out to me with their stories. I’m using this moment to give our alopecia family an opportunity to talk about what it’s like to have this condition, and to inform people about what alopecia actually is. Now about Oscar night: my deepest hope is that these two intelligent capable men have an opportunity to heel, talk this out, and reconcile. The state of the world today, we need them both and we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s to keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening.”
Smith then addressed the shame surrounding alopecia and going bald “without a choice.” Her mother Adrienne said that it looked like her daughter “had surgery on her skull” as a result of the autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall out in patches.
“That gives me a lot of anxiety,” said Smith, who ultimately shaved her head. “What’s my hair going to look like today?”
On Oscar night, Rock made a joke at the expense of Smith while presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature.
“Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said.
Smith’s husband Will seemed to be laughing following Rock’s comment. But he then stunned the audience by storming the stage and slapping Rock in the face. “Wow,” said Rock afterward. “Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.”
The actor was ultimately banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors.
During her Red Table Talk, Smith explained that she had “so much outrage from people who suffer from alopecia” and “they don’t talk about it because there is so much shame around it … people don’t understand what alopecia is.”
Smith then focused on Rio Allred, a 12-year-old girl from Indiana who was diagnosed with alopecia areata. Creams and injections wouldn’t help so she shaved her head and began wearing a wig to school.
“Her new look was mocked by her classmates. Constant bullying and relentless teasing took the ultimate toll,” she said.
On March 14, the young girl took her own life.