If you watched this year’s Academy Award ceremony, you saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock for mocking his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. But you might not have realized that Rock’s “joke” was about a medical condition that caused her hair loss.
While shocking – especially since Smith won a Best Actor Oscar a few minutes later for the movie King Richard – it’s led to a lot of questions about hair loss.
Why Did Will Smith Slap Chris Rock at the Oscars?
In his remarks before presenting the Best Documentary Award, Chris Rock made various jokes, including one referring to Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head as being for GI Jane 2.
Jada Pinkett-Smith went public in 2018 about her struggles with alopecia and began shaving her head instead of displaying patches of hair loss. Pinkett-Smith, understandably, became upset at being mocked for a medical condition she cannot control. Smith walked on stage, slapped Rock, and then – after returning to his seat – yelled at Rock to “Leave my wife’s name out of your —-ing mouth!”
What Is Alopecia?
“Alopecia” is the medical term for all types of hair loss. Unfortunately, reporters covering the Oscars kept referring to Pinkett-Smith’s hair loss as “alopecia” without further clarification – even though Pinkett-Smith has talked about it on her Instagram posts and in interviews since 2018. Pinkett-Smith actually has alopecia areata, one of several kinds of alopecia. She showed off her newly shaved head on December 28, 2021 – including the patches without functioning hair follicles.
In her Facebook Watch show (Red Table Talk), Pinkett-Smith not only discussed her condition, but Tiffany Haddish joined to talk about their emotional connections to their hair and what happened when they shaved their heads. Pinkett-Smith showed the process of shaving her head in that RTT episode and explained why she decided to shave her head.
In the same episode, Yvonne Orji from the TV show Insecure discussed her hair loss due to scarring alopecia – also known as traction alopecia. This form of hair loss is due to damage from tight hairstyles that damage the scalp.
What Is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles. This usually results in patches of hair loss, and the patches are often the size of a nickel or quarter. Pinkett-Smith showed that some of her loss patches look like narrow strips.
Some people with alopecia areata will only experience hair loss in a few places. For others, if new patches continue to form, it can lead to substantial or total hair loss. Occasionally the hair loss can reverse. However, a percentage of those cases will only be temporary, and the hair will break off again.
What Caused Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Hair Loss?
Science is still unclear on the cause of alopecia areata. Pinkett-Smith has said that stress is probably the cause of her alopecia, according to her doctors. However, genetics can also be a factor.
Contact RHRLI To Explore Your Hair Restoration Options
If you’re suffering from hair loss, the experts at RHRLI are here to help. Whether you suffer from alopecia areata, traction alopecia, or another condition causing hair loss, contact us for a consultation. We’ll evaluate your situation and the right treatment option for you. To schedule a hair and scalp analysis, contact us today.