Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head at the Oscars, prompting her husband, Will Smith, to jump on stage and slap Rock. The Smiths were apparently upset with the joke — during which Rock likened Pinkett Smith to bald movie character “G.I. Jane” — because she has alopecia, which causes hair loss.
Alopecia is a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles, which can cause hair loss anywhere on the body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Many people with the disease develop a round or oval bald patch on their scalp, but some forms of alopecia can cause total hair loss on the scalp, or even the entire body.
However, the internet never forgets. Just hours after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife’s alopecia condition, a clip has resurfaced online showing Will Smith mocking a bald man who ‘waxes his head’ back in the early 90s.
The footage in question comes from The Arsenio Hall Show in 1991, where Smith mocked John B. Williams, who was the bassist for the show’s house band, The Posse.
Williams suffered from alopecia.
While sitting down with Hall on the couch Smith singled out the bass player in the show’s band and said: “He’s got to wax his head every morning.” When the audience made noises of disapproval, Smith shot back saying: “It’s a joke. Come on,” which is quite similar to how Rock pleaded that his remark was a “G.I. Jane joke.”
Since the incident, there has been a debate online about whether Smith should have done what he did.
Some have said that Rock’s joke was cruel and Smith was right to do that because he was sticking his wife. While others countered that physical violence on national TV with viewers of all ages watching was not the answer and the star could have handled things differently.
Smith allowed his ego and his emotion to take over, ultimately belittling the hard-fought wins of the night and his own years of accomplishments.
I’m shrewd, passionate, learned and energetic, God-fearing and patriotic. I’ve done a fine job reintroducing good old American conservatism to a new generation of Americans. I’ve earned the love and friendship of many, the hatred of some, but the respect of all.