At the 2022 Oscars night, spectators worldwide watched in awe as Will Smith publicly slapped Chris Rock as he made a jibe at Jada Pinkett Smith‘s hairstyle, referring to her as ‘G I Jane’. However, despite the public’s initial shock, the conversation has quickly turned to his wife’s open battle with alopecia areata.
The American actress and singer, Pinkett Smith is amongst the notable women of colour who have broken their silence about hair loss, quickly becoming a role model for all those ones suffering from the same condition. In fact, that’s an incredibly common autoimmune disease, which affects about 6.8 million people in the U.S., and which nearly one-third of women experience, in some form, during their lives. A condition that occurs more frequently among Black Americans (according to a 2019 study conducted by The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology).
It was terrifying when the alopecia first started – Jada explained-. I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like: ‘Oh my god, am I going bald?’ It was one of those times in my life when I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continued to cut it.
Last year, when the Matrix actress revealed her freshly shaved head on Instagram, many fans praised the star for her bravery and for embracing her alopecia, demonstrating that it’s something not to be ashamed of.
Alopecia areata isn’t usually a serious medical condition, but it can cause a lot of anxiety and sadness. If you have ever suffered from even temporary hair loss, you can easily understand how uncomfortable could be in the long term. Support groups are out there to help you deal with the psychological effects of the disease.
Jada Pinkett Smith’s message to women affected by alopecia is clear: be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to try something different (from wigs to turbans and headscarves). “I don’t give two craps about what people feel about this bald head of mine,” she said. “‘Cause guess what? I love it.”
Classy and sassy woman in her 50s, she shows us once again that personality is more important than our look.