The Oscars earlier this year proved to be a very eventful evening, as Will Smith left Hollywood shocked when he took to the stage to slap presenter Chris Rock in the face, following a joke made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance.
After remaining quiet for a while, Pinkett broke her silence on the incident in the first epsiode of her Red Table Talk show, in which a statement at the beginning of the episode said: “Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focused on deep healing.
“Some of the discoveries around our healing with be shared when the time calls. Until then… the table will continue offering iteslf to powerful, inspiring and healing testimonies like that of our incredibly impressive first guest.
“Thanks for joining us, Jada.”
But what did Rock say in his joke – and what did it mean?
This is what you need to know.
What did Chris Rock say?
While presenting the award for Best Original Documentary, Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2.”
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
The actress could be seen rolling her eyes after the joke, and husband Smith could be seen laughing before he took to the stage.
Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
The altercation left Rock shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.
What did Chris Rock’s joke mean?
G.I. Jane is a 1997 American film starring Demi Moore (Charlies’ Angels: Full Throttle, General Hospital), which tells the fictional story of the first woman to go through special operations training, similar to that of the U.S Navy SEALs.
Demi Moore in G.I. Jane, 1997 (Photo: IMDb)
Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil, played by Moore, is selected as the candidate to undergo the gruelling training regime.
In the film, Moore sports a buzz cut and is given the nickname of G.I. Jane, referring to G.I. Joe, the male military action star based on the Hasbro toy.
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss and, under the alopecia umbrella, there are a number of different forms of the condition.
Usually when someone is talking about alopecia, they are referring to alopecia areata, which is believed to be an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out, usually in round or oval patches on the scalp or other areas of the body where hair grows, like the beard, eyebrows or eyelashes.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) explains that the hair is lost “because it is affected by inflammation”, and while the cause of this inflammation is unknown, “it is thought that the immune system, the natural defence which normally protects the body from infections and other diseases, may attack the growing hair”. Why this occurs is not yet understood.
Jada Pinkett Smith at the 94th Oscars (Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
BAD says that, with alopecia areata, it is “not possible to predict how much hair will be lost” and that “regrowth of hair in typical alopecia areata is usual over a period of months or sometimes years, but cannot be guaranteed”.
Other versions of alopecia as listed by the charity Alopecia UK, include:
- Androgenetic alopecia, which is male and female pattern hair loss. In met, hair tends to fall out in a well-defined pattern, whereas in women, the hair usually becomes thinner all over the head
- Scarring alopecia, which refers to a group of conditions that destroy the hair follicle and replace it with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss
- Chemotherapy induced alopecia, which is when the hair falls out following chemotherapy
- Traction alopecia, which is when hair falls out because it has been pulled in the same way for a long time – this type of alopecia is often caused by tight hairstyles, relaxers or extensions
Is there treatment for alopecia?
Treatment for alopecia will generally depend on what type of alopecia a person is suffering from. In the case of alopecia areata, there is no cure, but there are different ways of treating the condition.
Available treatments include steroid creams, local steroid injections and steroid tablets.
Many people with alopecia areata will choose to wear a wig, either full time or whilst they’re in recovery.
What has Jada Pinkett Smith said about the condition?
Pinkett Smith was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018. She discussed her condition in an episode of her Facebook chat show, Red Table Talk, in which she said that the hair loss was “terrifying when it first started”.
At the time, she said that she first suspected she had alopecia after “handfuls of hair” would come loose whilst she was in the shower.
She began: “A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans. Well, I haven’t talked about it. It’s not easy to talk about, but I’m going to talk about it.”
Pinkett Smith continued: “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 where I was literally shaking with fear.
“That’s why I cut my hair and I continue to cut it.”
At the end of 2021, Pinkett Smith uploaded a video to Instagram to talk about a new bald patch which had appeared near the front of her scalp, which took the form of an almost straight line.
In the video, the 50-year-old said the latest development will be hard to hide, as she ran a finger over a bald line across the middle of her scalp.
She said: “Now, at this point, I can only laugh. You all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that.
“So it just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So I thought I’d just share it so you are not asking any questions.”
She added that she is going to look on the bright side, continuing: “You know mama’s going to put some rhinestones in there.
“I’m going to make me a little crown. That’s what mama’s going to do.”
In the caption, she wrote: “Mama’s gonna have to take this down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something.
“Me and this alopecia are going to be friends…