Jada Pinkett Smith has finally spoken about the shocking moment her husband, Will Smith, slapped the comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars, saying she hopes that “these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile”.
On the latest episode of her Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith turned her husband’s blowup into a teachable moment about alopecia areata, dedicating the episode to the hair loss disorder that affects her and millions of others.
Smith slapped Rock on stage in March after the comedian joked, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it” , in reference to Pinkett Smith’s closely shaved head, similar to that of Demi Moore in the 1997 movie.
Smith, who returned to his seat and later accepted the best actor Oscar for King Richard, subsequently apologized to Rock but was banned from the ceremony for 10 years by the film academy.
“Now, about Oscar night, my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile,” Pinkett Smith said on Red Table Talk. “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 keep figuring out this thing called life together.”
“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,” the actor said. Her guests on the show included the mother of a 12-year-old girl, Rio Allred, who was bullied over her hair loss and died by suicide, as well as a physician who explained the different types of the disorder.
Rio’s mother, Nicole Ball, recounted the impact of the Oscar incident, which took place 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 be Googling, ‘what is alopecia … what is this that we’ve never heard of?’ It’s not a joke.”
The condition, particularly for Black women, can affect a person’s perception of themselves and force them to frequently confront others’ perceptions about beauty, hair and race and culture. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, the disorder affects as many as 6.8 million people in the US of any age, sex and ethnic group and the symptoms can vary.
“I think the part that makes it most difficult for me is that it comes and goes. You’re going through a spell of something, and [you’ve] got to shave your head,” Pinkett Smith said.
Pinkett Smith had only briefly addressed the slap previously, writing on Instagram the day after, “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it”.