HEALTH

Oscars controversy shines a light on alopecia

Mar 28, 2022, 9:32 AM | Updated: 10:30 am
Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on March...
Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on March 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Sound up for Dave and Dujanovic’s discussion about Alopecia with USU basketball player Brock Miller.

Originally Published: 28 MAR 22 05:46 ET
Updated: 28 MAR 22 05:52 ET

(CNN) — Jada Pinkett Smith found her struggle with hair loss at the center of an unexpected controversy at the Oscars on Sunday night, after her husband Will Smith appeared to strike comedian Chris Rock in response to a joke he made about her shaved head.

But while social media users were divided on the “King Richard” star’s angry response, there was widespread support online for Pinkett Smith, who has previously opened up about her experiences with the condition alopecia.

“Jada is a CURRENT inspiration for SO many people who live with the same or similar subcategory of her condition,” wrote one user. The writer Roxane Gay meanwhile said that although she didn’t think the joke about Pinkett Smith’s alopecia justified violence, she understood how it “could push someone over the edge.”

Revealing her diagnosis in 2018, Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about the condition, which has no known cure. In an episode of her chat show, Red Table Talk, she recalled the “terrifying” moment she first noticed she was losing “handfuls of hair” in the shower.

“It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear,” she said. “That’s why I cut my hair and continued to cut it.”

In recent years, the actress has often sported short, cropped hair, or has attended events wearing turbans and headwraps. In July last year she revealed her completely shaved head, posting a picture of herself with her daughter, Willow, on Instagram.

“Willow made me do it because it was time to let go,” she wrote in the accompanying caption. “BUT … my 50’s are bout to be divinely lit with this shed (shaved head).”

Posting an update about her “struggle” with the condition to Instagram last December, Pinkett Smith said she was coming to terms with the disorder and that “me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”

“Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something,” she wrote in the post, which was accompanied by video where she showed followers a new area of hair loss that was going to be “more difficult to hide.” She then added that she was going to use “some rhinestones” to “make me a little crown.”

Pinkett Smith has since appeared in public with her new look to various award ceremonies and premieres. At the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this month she accessorized with a diamond-encrusted headpiece.

About of a third of women will suffer some form of hair loss in their lives, according to Harvard Medical School. And a peer-reviewed study published in 2018 found that Black and Hispanic women in the US have a “significantly greater” chance of developing alopecia areata — the medical term for the autoimmune disorder Pinkett Smith has — in their lifetime than White women.

Alopecia advocates, and those with the condition, took to social media following the incident, with one awareness group, The Bald Girls Do Lunch, tweeting: “Jokes about @jadapsmith or any woman with #alopecia #alopeciaareata is never ok. Period.”

“It took Jada a lot of courage to come out in public,” wrote another Twitter user, who also has the disorder, adding: “Shame on you Chris Rock.”

Former NBA star and self-described “alopecia ambassador” Charlie Villanueva meanwhile used the controversy to post a message of support for those with the disorder: “Remember, you have alopecia, alopecia doesn’t have you.”

Top image caption: Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
4 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
7 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
7 days ago
White carnations representing each of the 1,746 unborn babies that were aborted in Utah in 2022 are...
Allessandra Harris and Simone Seikaly

Speeches, silence, during Pro-Life Utah memorial at the Capitol

About 100 people including Utah lawmakers and religious leaders attended the memorial on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
8 days ago
 A mental health clinic will reopen on Thursday after a carbon monoxide leak sent at least 17 peop...
Michael Locklear

Carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic hospitalizes 17 people

The Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim was evacuated a week ago after a problem with an old furnace was discovered.
9 days ago
a row of guns are pictured...
Mark Jones

KSL at Night: How do we solve gun violence?

KSL at Night hosts Taylor Morgan and Maura Carabello speak with Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council about gun violence.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Oscars controversy shines a light on alopecia