Culture & Society

Oscars 2022 | What Is Alopecia? Here's Why Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock

At the Oscars, Rocks, while presenting the award for the best documentary prize, compared Will Smith's wife, Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore's appearance in the film "G.I. Jane".

Will Smith's wife, Jade Pinkett Smith
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Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rocks at the Oscars has now become the talking point.  Rock was slapped for a joke he cracked about Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair. Rocks, while presenting the award for the best documentary prize, compared Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore's appearance in the film "G.I. Jane". He further suggested that she appear in a sequel. The clip soon went viral, leaving viewers in a state of daze and shock. 

However, Pinkett’s hair suggests an underlying disease, commonly known as alopecia areata, that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles resulting in hair loss. 

What is alopecia?

Alopecia causes hair to fall out in patches and at times more than that in quantity. Generally, it affects the scalp (alopecia totalis) and in extreme cases, it may also affect the face and entire body (alopecia universalis). 

According to the US Health Department, the condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30.

Alopecia areata often develops suddenly, over the course of just a few days. However, there is no cure for alopecia. 

What are the types of alopecia?

There are various forms of alopecia including -- Alopecia areata, Alopecia totalis, Alopecia universalis, Diffuse alopecia areata, Ophiasis alopecia. 

What are the causes?

The condition occurs when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and dramatically slow down hair production. It is unknown precisely what causes the body’s immune system to target hair follicles in this way.

Although researchers are yet to understand what causes the disease, they believe it can be caused both by environment and genetic conditions. 

What Pinkett Smith said?

In 2018, the actor had first revealed her condition publicly on Red Label Talks.  She said it "was terrifying" to deal with when alopecia first started. She first appeared with a shaved head in July 2021. 

Pinkett Smits also said that she used to find “handful of hair” while taking shower. She went on to say that she then decided to cut her hair.

 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has reacted to the infamous slap gate incident involving actors Will Smith and Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony, saying that it does not support "violence of any form".

After the ceremony concluded, the official Twitter handle of AMPAS posted a brief statement, saying, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world."

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