On Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith opens up a conversation around alopecia, the autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Smith, who has alopecia; her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris; and her daughter, Willow Smith, are joined by a few guests who share their personal experience with the disorder.
The mother of 12-year-old Rio Allred, who died by suicide after being bullied for her alopecia, emotionally recalls her daughter’s hair loss journey and how she and her family, including her 7-year-old daughter, Avry, are dealing with the tragic loss.
“With the hair loss, she was so strong,” Allred’s mom, Niki Ball, said. “She just rocked it, even when it was still falling out and she had these big patches.” Ball details how the many different remedies she tried — like creams and injections — didn’t help her daughter and instead aided in the young girl’s decision to shave her head. “So we did and she just glowed,” Ball said.
Of the many instances of bullying she endured, one of the last encounters Allred told her mother about was a “really bad day” at school when a fellow student, referring to Allred’s bald head, told her to “put your hat back on, I can’t stand the glare.”
On how she’s coping since the discovery of her daughter on March 14, Ball said, “Eating has gotten a little easier; you literally have to eat to stay alive.”
Speaking to the table of visibly emotional hosts, Ball said, “I worry about all of us a lot. I feel like I have to stay strong.”
The full half-hour episode, “Alopecia: The Devastating Impact,” can be viewed on the Red Table Talk‘s Facebook Watch page.
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