Jada Pinkett Smith broke down in tears with a grieving mother whose 12-year-old daughter with alopecia committed suicide after being cruelly bullied for her hair loss.
The 50-year-old, who has spoken out about her own struggles with alopecia, invited Niki Ball to share her heartbreaking story in a new episode of her Facebook Watch the Red Table Talk series, which airs on Wednesdays.
Ball’s daughter, Rio, began losing her hair “by handfuls” early in the pandemic and was later diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes patchy and unpredictable hair loss.
‘With the hair loss, she was so strong. She just shook it off even when she was still falling off, and she just had these big bald patches,” Ball explained in a shorten from the episode I tried the creams. They made her escape. I tried the injections. She took five of them in one day, but none of them really did anything.
Jada Pinkett Smith, 50, was overcome with emotion as she spoke to a grieving mother whose 12-year-old daughter committed suicide after being bullied for having alopecia.
The actress, who has spoken out about her own struggles with alopecia, invited Niki Ball to share her heartbreaking story in a new episode of her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk.
During the emotional conversation with Pinkett Smith, who was joined by her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter, Willow Smith, Ball recalled how Rio decided to shave her head.
“When she got back to school, we bought her that super cute wig, she loved it and it shone then,” the mother said. “But at school, within a couple of weeks, she was like, ‘I don’t want to use it anymore. It doesn’t make sense.'”
They ripped it out of his head. They hit her on the head as she walked down the hall. And that was within the first two weeks, three weeks. It got really bad for her.
Ball explained that Rio’s classmates called him ‘naked mole rat’, ‘googly-eyed alien’ and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Clean. She noted that Rio “had a really bad day” at school weeks before her death.
The mother said Rio started losing her hair “by handfuls” early in the pandemic and was later diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes patchy hair loss.
Ball remembered how Rio was ‘so strong’ when he was losing his hair. She was bought a wig for school, but she stopped wearing it a few weeks later because the kids ripped it off her head.
Ball explained that Rio’s classmates called him ‘naked mole rat’, ‘googly-eyed alien’ and ‘Mr. and the clean lady
“He had a hat to wear during the winter because some of his classrooms were really cold, and he walked into a class, and this kid said, ‘Rio, put your hat on, I can’t stand the glare.'” ‘ she said.
Rio died by suicide on March 14, 2022.
Ball, who also has a 7-year-old daughter, Avery, recalled walking into their shared room that morning.
“I thought it was weird that the lamp was still on and the way the room was set up. I didn’t see it, and I was like, ‘River!’ I didn’t hear anything, so I screamed again,” she said.
Rio committed suicide on March 14, 2022, and Ball recalled the anguish of finding her daughter in her room that morning.
Pinkett Smith’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris (left), and her daughter, Willow Smith (right), fought back tears as they listened to Ball.
The mother said her daughter had hanged herself from her loft bed with a pair of jeans.
“I walked into her room and she had hung herself with a pair of jeans from her loft bed,” the mother explained as she burst into tears.
Pinkett Smith wept along with Ball, saying that Rio is an example of why people “need an understanding of the devastation of this condition.”
The actress opened up about her own experience with alopecia on a 2018 episode of Red Table Talk.
“It was scary when it started,” he said. “I was in the shower one day, and then I just had a handful of hair, just in my hands, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’
Pinkett Smith wept along with Ball, saying that Rio is an example of why people “need to understand the devastation of this condition.”
Emotional episode of Red Table Talk airs on Facebook Watch Wednesday
“It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear. That is a really scary experience.
Pinkett Smith’s struggle with alopecia made headlines earlier this year when her husband, Will Smith, slapped host Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars after he made a joke about her hair loss.
‘Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, I can’t wait to see it,” Rock said, referencing Demi Moore’s shaved head in the 1997 film GI Jane.
Smith initially laughed at the gag and clapped her hands as Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes. the actor then he jumped out of his seat and ran up on stage to slap Rock across the face.
Pinkett Smith opened up about her own experience with alopecia on a 2018 episode of Red Table Talk and has been candid about her struggles on social media.
Pinkett Smith’s struggle with alopecia made headlines this year when her husband, Will Smith, slapped host Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars after he made a joke about her hair loss.
‘Wow,’ Rock said after the assault. ‘Will Smith just beat me up.’
In uncensored footage, Smith was heard saying: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.’
Later that night, Smith won his first Academy Award for his leading role in King Richard, but soon faced consequences within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
After apologizing to Rock on Instagram, he resigned from the organization, meaning he will no longer be able to vote for the awards.
Smith was also subsequently barred from all Academy events for a decade and will not be able to attend the ceremony, although he may still be nominated or win an award.