The episode Wednesday was in response to Chris Rock’s “G.I. Jane” joke at the 2022 Academy Awards in March at the expense of Pinkett Smith, who has been open about her struggle with alopecia.
“This is a really important ‘Red Table Talk’ about alopecia,” Pinkett Smith said at the start of Wednesday’s episode. “Considering what I’ve been through with my health and what happened to me at the Oscars thousands of people have reached out to me about their stories.”
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At the ceremony, the comedian joked about a possible “G.I. Jane” sequel starring Pinkett Smith in reference to her baldness.
Will Smith was sitting next to his wife during the Oscars and appeared to laugh at the joke until he noticed Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and looked upset. Rock continued speaking before presenting the award for best documentary feature, as Smith got out of his seat, walked up to Rock and slapped him.
Pinkett Smith addressed the incident on “Red Table Talk” with compassion for both her husband and Rock.
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“Now, about Oscar night … 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 and we all actually need one another more than ever,” she said.
The actress added: ” ‘Til 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.”
Pinkett Smith first discussed her alopecia diagnosis in an episode of “Red Table Talk” in 2018. She shaved her head in July 2021 alongside her daughter Willow.
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Pinkett Smith’s first guest Niki Ball opened up about her 12-year-old daughter Rio Allred’s death by suicide in March as a result of being bullied for her alopecia.
Ball said her “brilliant” daughter was “so strong” when her hair loss began in the summer of 2021. After countless treatments, Rio “glowed” when she decided to ultimately shave her head and began wearing a wig.
When Rio returned to school in the fall she faced relentless bullying. “She had (the wig) ripped off her head, she’d get smacked up the side of her head walking down the hallway and that was within the first two weeks. It got really bad.”
Rio died by suicide in March. “Nobody prepares you to sign a death certificate for your child,” Ball tearfully shared. “It was the worst day of my life.”
“Not even two weeks later the Oscars was on … it’s not a joke,” she added.
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Pinkett Smith’s other guests included dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Meena Singh who discussed the various types of alopecia and treatment; glueless wig designer Gina Knight who suffers from alopecia; former NBA player Charlie Villanueva who was ridiculed for his alopecia and more.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.