The premiere episode of Red Table Talk season five premiered on Wednesday (April 20), the first installment since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars on March 27.
To open the episode, which featured Janelle Monae as a guest, a title card with a statement from Jada Pinkett Smith appeared on screen. “Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing,” the message read. “Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls.”
“Until then… the table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring and healing testimonies like that of our incredibly impressive first guest,” the statement concludes. “Thanks for joining us.”
The headline-making incident occured after Rock poked fun at Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. “Jada, I love you, G.I Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” the comedian said, seemingly referring to the actress’ struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Pinkett Smith has openly talked about having the condition since 2018.
After Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at the joke, Smith then stormed the stage to slap Rock, who was visibly shaken after. Rock attempted to continue his initially planned banter, but the King Richard actor reiterated his point once he sat down and told the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.”
Smith, who apologized for his behavior to Academy members and his fellow nominees during his Oscars best actor win for King Richard, and subsequently directly to Rock in a social media statement, announced his resignation from the Academy on April 1, referencing his “shocking, painful and inexcusable” actions in a letter to the organization.
In the premiere episode of Red Table Talk, Monae shares how she overcame her fears of abandonment and healed from the traumatizing effects of her father’s drug addiction. She also discusses her upcoming book, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories Of Dirty Computer, and how it portrays the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and women. Her mom, Janice Hawthorne, also joined the conversation.