In an exclusive PEOPLE cover story, Jada Pinkett Smith sheds light on a hidden facet of the legendary rapper Tupac Shakur, revealing that he silently battled alopecia, an autoimmune disease causing unpredictable hair loss. The Emmy Award-winning actress speculates that had Shakur been alive today, he might have chosen to speak openly about his condition.
Shakur’s journey with alopecia mirrors Smith’s experience, with the onset of symptoms dating back to 1991, around the time of his arrest for jaywalking by the Oakland Police Department in California. Subsequently, Shakur pursued legal action against the police department, ultimately settling the matter.
Smith reflects, “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.” It’s a revelation that invites a new perspective on Shakur’s life and challenges.
Jada Pinkett Smith, an actress and talk show host, disclosed her alopecia diagnosis in 2018, becoming a notable advocate for alopecia awareness. She believes that Shakur’s silence about his alopecia was due to societal pressures of his time. “I don’t think Pac ever talked about his alopecia, but he also looked really good with a bald head. But that was during a time and during an era that you wouldn’t – he just wouldn’t talk about it.”