The actress hosted an emotional alopecia-themed episode of Red Table Talk after "thousands" reached out to her about the condition after Rock joked about it at the 2022 Oscars.

Two months after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock live on stage at the 2022 Oscars, the Academy Award–winning actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has publicly addressed the incident at length for the first time in an emotionally charged episode of her Red Table Talk show.

The Matrix and Girls Trip actress, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2018, began her alopecia-themed episode on Wednesday by looking directly into the camera to address viewers. She explained that the special installment was inspired by "thousands" of people who've reached out to her with their stories about the hair loss condition after the March 27 Oscars, during which Smith approached Rock and slapped him on stage after the comedian made an unscripted joke about Pinkett Smith's shaved head bearing resemblance to Demi Moore's buzzed style from the 1997 film G.I. Jane.

"Now, about Oscar night," she said, "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. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that's keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening."

Jada Pinkett Smith on Red Table Talk
Jada Pinkett Smith addressed Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars on a 'Red Table Talk' episode about alopecia.
| Credit: Red Table Talk/YouTube

Pinkett Smith was then joined by her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and daughter, Willow Smith, to discuss the actress' struggle with deep anxiety over her alopecia. The conversation suggested why Rock's joke was so hurtful to the 50-year-old actress, who said she often felt "shame" as a result of her sporadic hair loss over the past four years.

"One of the reasons I thought this show was really important is because I had so much outreach from people who suffer from alopecia, have children who suffer from alopecia, and they don't talk about it because there's so much shame around it," she said. "There's so many people walking around who have alopecia and that we don't even know. I felt like it was so important to allow the alopecia community, our brothers and sisters, to tell their story. I think that people don't understand what alopecia is and they don't understand the effects of it."

Red Table Talk
'Red Table Talk' welcomed Niki Ball, the mother of 12-year-old Rio Allred, for a special alopecia-centered episode.
| Credit: Courtesy of Red Table Talk

The trio then welcomed Niki Ball, the mother of seventh-grade alopecia patient Rio Allred, to the table to discuss her daughter's March 14 suicide, which occurred after the 12-year-old endured intense bullying at school after she shaved her head. The group wept as Ball told her daughter's story, which tragically ended just two weeks before the Oscars telecast.

"I was just like, 'What is the universe doing right now? This is crazy. People are going to be googling, "What is alopecia?"'" Ball said. "It's not a joke. The alopecia community was already in an uproar. We'd heard from so many people. I didn't realize how huge and amazing that community is."

Wednesday's Red Table Talk marks the first time Pinkett Smith has addressed the Oscars slap in an extended capacity, after she briefly referenced it in a written title card on the show's season 5 premiere in April — which came after she shared a short statement on Instagram two days after ABC broadcast the Academy Awards.

"Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing," the actress wrote in a message that appeared onscreen at the start of the episode. "Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls. Until then… the table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring, and healing testimonies like that of our incredibly impressive first guest. Thanks for joining us."

Though Smith apologized to his fellow nominees and attendees of the show as he accepted his Best Actor trophy for King Richard moments after slapping Rock, he did not reference the comedian by name in his speech. He eventually addressed Rock in a social media post, adding that his behavior was "out of line" and "wrong," and that there is "no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."

Following Smith's voluntary resignation from the Academy, governing board members met to discuss the incident, and decided on disciplinary measures that included banning Smith from attending Academy-sanctioned events — including the Oscars — for the next 10 years, even if he is nominated for any award at a ceremony that falls within that timeline.

Various celebrities have voiced support for the Smith family, including Pinkett Smith's Girls Trip costar Tiffany Haddish and Smith's Fresh Prince collaborator Janet Hubert, while others — including Oscars hosts Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer — criticized the display.

While his mother slammed Smith's behavior, Rock has yet to speak about the moment in detail, but he did reference it after an audience member rushed the stage and tackled fellow comedian Dave Chappelle in May at the Netflix Is a Joke festival in Los Angeles, jokingly asking if the attacker was Smith.

Days later, the 57-year-old comedian again touched on the slap during a stand-up set at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

"I'm okay, if anybody was wondering," Rock reportedly told the audience. "Got most of my hearing back.... Don't expect me to talk about the bulls---. I'll talk about it at some point… on Netflix."

The new, alopecia-themed episode of Red Table Talk is streaming now on Facebook Watch.

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