Jada Pinkett Smith and her late friend Tupac Shakur shared much more than a close bond, a love for entertainment, and teenage angst growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. According to the actress, they both also suffered from hair loss caused by alopecia.
“The Red Table Talk” host revealed her diagnosis of the autoimmune disorder in 2018 on the now-defunct show. After attempts to camouflage her waning follicles with short hairdos, Pinkett Smith debuted a shaved head in July 2021.
“I don’t think Tupac ever talked about the alopecia he suffered from,” she told People in an exclusive chat published on Saturday (Oct. 14). “After he was in Northern California with the police officers that beat him up, he started losing his hair. And his alopecia patterns were far more extreme than mine,” she continued.
Tupac was brutally arrested in Oakland by two white cops who stopped him for allegedly jaywalking in October 1991. The All Eyez on Me artist said he was thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and choked until he was unconscious. He spent seven hours in jail after officers claimed he resisted arrest. The following month, he sued the police department for $10 million in a false imprisonment and arrest lawsuit. The complaint was later settled for $42,000.
The Matrix star said that while Tupac never spoke about his hair loss, “he also looked really good with a bald head.” She surmised that he kept the condition private to avoid possible scrutiny. “That was during a time and during an era that you wouldn’t — he just wouldn’t talk about it,” she said. If alive today, she believes that he would be outspoken about his experience living with alopecia.
Pinkett Smith, on the other hand, has become an advocate for those diagnosed with the disorder. Her shaved head was a global spectacle and point of debate at the 2022 Oscars when Chris Rock likened her appearance to that of fictional movie character G.I. Jane. As the world knows, the wisecrack was followed by Will Smith angrily walking onstage and slapping the comedian. The actress tells her account of witnessing the viral moment in her new memoir, “Worthy,” which will be released on Tuesday (Oct. 17).
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