Before starting a conversation on alopecia, the autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, Jada Pinkett Smith addressed her husband’s infamous Oscars slap in a prelude to Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk. After Jada’s shaved head became the brunt of a Chris Rock joke, Will Smith walked on stage and smacked Rock across the face — as if to defend his wife, who appeared unhappy about Rock’s comment.
“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,” she said. Jada emphasized the episode’s focus would be about the guests who opened up about their journeys with alopecia, but noted her hope for Will and Rock to “reconcile.”
“My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile,” she said. “With the state of the world today, we need them both …”
The episode then cut to Jada at the red table, joined by her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and her daughter, Willow Smith. The hosts welcomed guests who shared their experience with the disorder, including the mother of 12-year-old Rio Allred, who died by suicide after being bullied for her alopecia.
Niki Ball emotionally recalls her daughter’s hair loss journey and how her family is dealing with the tragic loss.
One of the last instances of bullying that Rio told her mother about was a “really bad day” at school when a student, referring to Rio’s bald head, told her to “put your hat back on, I can’t stand the glare.”
On how she’s coping since Rio’s death on March 14, Ball said, “Eating has gotten a little easier; you literally have to eat to stay alive.”
Speaking to the table of visibly emotional hosts, Ball said, “I worry about all of us a lot. I feel like I have to stay strong.”
The full half-hour episode, “Alopecia: The Devastating Impact,” can be viewed on the Red Table Talk‘s Facebook Watch page.
If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
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