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Jada Pinkett Smith Cries With Mother Whose Daughter Took Her Own Life After Alopecia Bullying

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Jada Pinkett Smith Cries With Mother Whose Daughter Took Her Own Life After Alopecia Bullying

Warning: Contains distressing content

A mother has opened up to Jada Pinkett Smith about her daughter taking her own life after battles with alopecia.

In a trailer for an episode of Red Table Talk which is set to air today, 1 June, Jada Pinkett Smith is joined by mother Niki Ball.

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Pinkett Smith's daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris were also seated around the table.

Ball revealed what led up to the morning of 14 March, 2022, when she lost her daughter - who similarly to Pinkett Smith suffered from alopecia, an autoimmune condition which causes hair loss - after she took her own life.


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Ball opened up about the struggles Rio faced prior to her passing.

"With the hair loss, she was so strong. She just racked it, even when it was just still falling out and she had these big bald patches," the mother said.

Due to bad reactions to creams and injections not working, Rio decided to shave her hair off.

Ball said: "She just glowed. And then with school coming up we got her that super cute wig and she loved it. She glowed then.

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"But at school, within a few weeks, she was like, 'I don't want to wear it anymore. There's no point'.

"She had it ripped off her head. She would get smacked on the side of the head walking down the hallway. And that was within the first two weeks, three weeks. It got really bad for her."

Rio had her wig 'ripped off' her at school. Credit: Red Table Talk
Rio had her wig 'ripped off' her at school. Credit: Red Table Talk

Ball detailed how her daughter was called a 'naked mole rat' as well as a 'bug-eyed alien' as well as 'Mr and Mrs Clean'.

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"One of the last things she told me - she had a really bad day - she had a hat, to wear during the winter, because some of the classrooms are really cold.

"And she walked into one class and this kid was like, 'Rio, put your hat back on, I can't stand the glare'," the mother said.

Ball detailed the awful extent Rio was bullied at school. Credit: Red Table Talk
Ball detailed the awful extent Rio was bullied at school. Credit: Red Table Talk

Ball explained how on the morning she found Rio after her daughter had ended her own life that she 'got up like normal'.

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She then went into Rio's room, only realising something was a bit 'weird' because the 'lamp was still on'.

The mother recalled: "The way the room was set up I did not see her. And I'm like, 'Rio?' But I didn't hear anything. So I yelled again and I didn't hear anything. And then I kind of just got this, 'Something's wrong'. So I went all the way into her room."

Ball then detailed how she discovered her daughter.

Ball discovered her daughter had passed away on 14 March. Credit: Red Table Talk
Ball discovered her daughter had passed away on 14 March. Credit: Red Table Talk

When asked how the family was healing, Ball admitted she 'worries' about everyone a lot.

"I feel like I have to stay strong. Cassy, her step-mum, put it really good the other day: 'We're all in this fog'. I genuinely don't know what day it is.

"You can't see that grief monster there, but you know they're there and they're going to come and grab you at any second," she said.


Pinkett Smith, her daughter and mother can all be seen growing incredibly emotional in the clip as Ball opens up about losing her daughter and particularly how she had to tell her other daughter, seven-year-old Avery, about her sister's passing.

The conversation follows an incident at the Oscars which saw Pinkett Smith's husband, Will, take to the stage to slap Chris Rock.

The comedian made a 'GI Jane 2' joke in relation to Pinkett Smith's lack of hair - a result of her alopecia.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Alopecia UK on 0800 101 7025 (available 10am - 4pm, Mon- Fri), via email or their website.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123 

Featured Image Credit: Red Table Talks

Topics: News, Chris Rock, Health, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mental Health, Oscars, Will Smith

Poppy Bilderbeck
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