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Oscars confrontation shines light on alopecia cause for local residents

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:36:14-04

MILWAUKEE — It was, literally, was the slap heard around the world. However, the story behind the Will Smith and Chris Rock altercation is bringing attention to a serious matter.

Will Smith took the stage, slapping comedian Chris Rock after a joke about Jada Pinkett-smith's hair. The actress has been very open about her struggles with hair loss due to alopecia areata.

“I got offended, just by the comments. People were just saying its alopecia, its nothing. But it is something,” said Brittney Hutchinson.

Hutchinson has lived with the condition for nearly 10 years. She began noticing hair loss in her early 20s.

“You see everyone thriving in their 20s and I’m insecure and depressed, because I don’t know how to handle anything,” she said.

For Hutchinson, there were many nights privately dealing with the reality of inevitable hair loss.

“I was literally working in a beauty supply store when it happened so I’m grabbing all the hair growth things because I didn’t know what it was,” Hutchinson said.

Today, the condition is a hot topic for many who didn’t know about it before Sunday.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) notes that, not only does the autoimmune disorder cause hair loss, but also mental ailments such as grief, anxiety, embarrassment or loneliness.

Even those who've achieved the heights of success, like former Milwaukee Bucks star Charlie Villanueva, have been weighing in on the mental impact of the disorder.

“For someone who is at the stage where they’re still struggling with it, they’re very vulnerable and it’s a very slippery slope,” Villanueva said in an Instagram live video.

For Hutchinson, time has allowed her to accept life with alopecia and she hopes this platform and dialogue also helps others realize the impacts of the rare condition.

“For people speaking up and saying it (is) something not to be taken lightly. It feels good to just be recognized,” she said.

For more on NAAF, visit their website.

Will Smith issued the following statement Monday, apologizing for his actions:

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