Jada Pinkett Smith opened up about learning “detachment” from her hair after the 2022 Oscars.
During the ceremony, her husband, Will Smith, slapped comedian Chris Rock after he joked about the actress’ autoimmune condition, alopecia, which causes hair loss in the affected individual.
The “Red Table Talk” co-host shared that it was difficult to let go because her hair was an identifying part of being a black woman. Ultimately, she was able to “dig deep and see the beauty” of herself “beyond aesthetics.”
On February 15, the actress will debut a new docuseries on Netflix, “African Queens.”
Read on to learn more.
‘It’s Been A Hard One’
In an interview with UK’s Guardian, Jada opened up about the lessons she learned in the aftermath of the slap scandal at the 2022 Oscars, per Deadline.
At the time, the actress’s husband, Will, slapped comedian Rock, one of the presenters at the ceremony, for making a joke about Jada’s lack of hair.
The “King Richard” actor afterward faced criticism for his actions, which indirectly impacted his family.
Jada said of the event that she learned a lot about “detachment.” Her comment reflected her choice to accept that she would live the rest of her life without having hair on her head due to her alopecia disease.
However, choosing to let go wasn’t easy, as she needed to do a lot of self-introspection.
She said, “It’s been a hard one, a scary one – because specifically as Black women, we identify so much of ourselves with our hair. And it was scary. I had to really dig deep and see the beauty of myself beyond my aesthetics.”
Jada Pinkett Smith On Navigating The Entertainment Industry
Jada also discussed the challenges she faced debuting in the entertainment industry decades ago. At the time, fewer Blacks were into acting, posing for Jada a challenge to “navigate the necessity to be less Black.”
She said: “Even something as simple as coming into the game at such a young age, and how I had to navigate the necessity to be ‘less Black.’ How do you navigate people being threatened by your Blackness? Having to really not take it personally and understanding.”
Speaking further about the experience, the actress shared that it was a struggle to balance being scorned for her color and not letting such reactions irritate her.
“‘OK, this is the land I’m in right now,” the actress recalled her then-emotions. “How do I navigate this without allowing their discomfort with my Blackness to get on me?’ That’s a hell of a thing to navigate.”
‘It’s About Being Clear Who You Are’
Jada continued by saying that such experiences had varied effects, depending on the view of the affected individual.
She said, “It’s something that can either make you bitter, or it’s something you can look at, not take personally, then push against.”
In the end, it came down to finding the proper balance between compromising wisely and trying her best to stick to her principles.
She continued, “There are always those compromises you make that you hope don’t totally pull you away from your roots. That’s the difference between being confused or being swallowed by becoming someone else to get what you need. It’s about being clear who you are.”
Jada Pinkett Smith’s New Docuseries, ‘African Queens’
The actress is set to debut her upcoming docuseries “African Queens” on Netflix. It follows the lives of royal figures from African history, with the first season focusing on the 17th-century warrior queen named Njinga of Angola.
The film, which starts streaming on February 15, will feature expert interviews and reenactments to tell the story of how the warrior queen ruled the country as the first female ruler.
On why she chose to take on the project, Jada told Netflix Tudum in an interview that she did so to represent Black women.
She said, “We don’t often get to see or hear stories about Black queens, and that was really important for me, as well as for my daughter[Willow], and just for my community to be able to know those stories because there are tons of them! The sad part is that we don’t have ready access to these historical women who were so powerful and were the backbones of African nations.”