Jada Pinkett Smith has claimed Tupac Shakur suffered from alopecia but kept a tight lid on making his condition public.
During an interview with People for their latest cover story, the actress said she and Pac suffered from the same autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. According to Smith, Pac showed hair loss symptoms in 1991 after he was arrested for jaywalking by the Oakland Police Department in California.
“After he was in Northern California with the police officers that beat him up, he started losing his hair. And his alopecia patterns were far more extreme than mine,” Smith told People.
She also stated that the legendary rapper kept his condition a secret because of the public’s lack of awareness of the disease tied in with the admiration for him and his iconic look.
“I don’t think Pac ever talked about his alopecia, but he also looked really good with a bald head,” said Smith. “But that was during a time and during an era that you wouldn’t— he just wouldn’t talk about it.”
Smith added that if Pac were still alive in this era, he would publicly speak about his condition. The 52-year-old also hoped that her revelation would further raise awareness about alopecia, which affects as many as 6.7 million people in the U.S. alone, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
“I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity and we’ll continue to have the opportunity to talk about how alopecia affects me,” she said. “And I’m just hoping that it’ll give people the freedom to talk about how and just not have shame around it and not to have such a stigma. And there’s a lot of shame around alopecia.”