Brooklyn woman shares struggles with alopecia after heated Oscars exchange between Smith, Rock

Actor Will Smith's shocking slap of Chris Rock during Sunday night’s Oscars has started a dialogue about alopecia.

News 12 Staff

Mar 28, 2022, 9:24 PM

Updated 839 days ago

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Actor Will Smith's shocking slap of Chris Rock during Sunday night’s Oscars has started a dialogue about alopecia. 
Smith hit Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from the condition. 
The joke about her shaved head brought the actress's battle with alopecia to the forefront–igniting the conversation about joking at the expense of someone’s medical condition. 
Brooklyn resident Kenya Townsend was diagnosed with alopecia in 2020, an autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss. 
She says seeing that moment play out on stage made her think back to her own struggles with confidence. 
Dr. Emma Guttman of Mount Sinai Health says alopecia is more common than people think, affecting nearly 7 million people across the nation. 
She, along with advocacy groups like the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, is now hoping to use this viral moment to shed light on the condition. 
"I hate that what happened last night happened, but you know I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by people like Suhani and the community where we can sort of take this and try to get some good out of it, which is alopecia awareness,” said Guttman. 
Through Lindsey Sullivan’s podcast “Very Nearly Almost” and Suhani Parikh’s children's book titled “Shreya’s Very Own Style”, the two are working to educate more people about alopecia and hoping to use this as a teachable moment.


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