One will never know another person’s inner turmoils until they decide to open up for themselves. Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk Facebook Watch series continues its mission of addressing difficult topics head-on with its newest episode. The 22-minute sit-down—filled with tears, revelations and, ultimately, bravery—brought her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, August Alsina and Ashley Marie, Will Smith’s younger sister, together to talk about addiction.
While Banfield Norris fought through the painful memories of overcoming a 20-year long heroin addiction (she has been clean for 27 years) and Ashley helped debunked the myth that weed is non-addictive, August Alsina, 25, shed light on choosing to walk away from his pill problem. In 2014, during a flurry of other personal and professional misfortunes, an exhausted Alsina passed out and fell off a stage during a New York tour stop, hitting his head. After hospitalization, the R&B singer was prescribed Percocet to handle all the pain he was in. That led to him abusing his prescription, even after he was healed.
“I remember you telling me, ‘I do six Percs a day, [but] my buddies do 20.’ That was an eye-opener for me. And he said he’s not addicted,” Jada said, noting that he would hide pills in his socks. August went on to clarify that he didn’t believe he was because he had a different, more stereotypical idea of what an addict looked like. “My step-father was addicted to crack, my father was addicted to crack and an alcohol, so my introduction to drugs was that,” he said. “And seeing my step-father pawn the whole house for some drugs, pawn the car, whatever, and my idea of an addiction was that. I would see him sweating, shaking, and really having to get his life back, and I went through that experience thinking I had it under control.”
It took Jada breaking down on the phone with him to give him a wake-up call. For a while, the masses have wondered how he even became seemingly absorbed into the Smith family tree. Photographs revealed him spending much quality time with Will, Jada, Jaden, and Willow both in the U.S. and abroad. Jada revealed that the family initially met August in London backstage at Wireless Festival in 2015, where the Smith kids were both performing.
“He asked me that day, ‘Man I could really use some help dealing with life,'” she said. The Smiths have been a constant support system for him, helping him overcome his pill dependency. “August and I and my mother and the family as a whole has been on this journey with August towards his healing.”
Watch the full episode below.