In the span of an hourlong interview with The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee, R&B singer August Alsina managed to not only set the internet on fire but also a marriage: that of longtime friend, and alleged lover, Jada Pinkett Smith. He claimed that, with her husband Will Smith’s blessing, he gave their intimate relationship “years of my life,” so much so that he could die right now and be happy. Rumors, that had been shaping up over the years about their perceived closeness, were finally brought to light. And now, after denying Alsina’s claims, Pinkett Smith revealed that some “healing” needs to happen, so she’s going to be her next guest on her own Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, to presumably talk about the situation and confront herself.
Alsina’s much more than a matrimonial firebrand. He’s been one of R&B’s more talked-about men for nearly a decade, and often not because of his music — but his tumultuous personal life. Perhaps too conveniently, he released his third studio album, The Product III: State of Emergency, just a couple of days before his explosive allegations went public. The LP comes after a lengthy hiatus that left many to wonder how he was coping in the midst of a serious autoimmune-disease diagnosis, losing a close family member to cancer, and kicking an addiction to opioids.
For everyone wondering more about the singer-songwriter and supposed “other man,” we’ve created a short guide to who he is beyond the headlines.
He’s the real Mike Lowry.
If Will Smith’s character from the Bad Boys franchise were real and from New Orleans, his name would be August Anthony Alsina Jr. The 27-year-old singer released his first official mixtape, The Product, in 2011 and caught fire two years later with the release of its sequel that featured his breakout hit, “I Luv This Shit” with Trinidad James. The song and project established him as a slick-talking singer with rapper tendencies, quick to charm a woman out of her pants while also able to handle himself with a gun. He released two remixes of it: one with Birdman and another with Chris Brown and Trey Songz. His debut album, Testimony debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in 2014. Across the LP, Alsina revealed some layers beneath the chiseled smile that cover everything from becoming a hustler to being abandoned by his parents — switching it up from the R&B blueprint of sex music throughout.
His fuse to get angry is shorter than this sentence.
Alsina’s debut album revealed him to be more of a street guy than a romantic, and by observing the way that he moved in his early career, it’s not hard to believe. Shortly after the remix to “I Luv This Shit” with Trey Songz and Chris Brown dropped, Alsina revealed that he and Songz weren’t on good terms. Years later, in 2017, he reignited the feud on Instagram saying he wanted to fight Songz, who wished no ill will on Alsina; their bout never materialized.
In 2015, at a State of Emergency anti-violence concert at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Alsina and his crew got into an altercation with a show promoter. Captured footage shows him sprinting into the two opposing crowds scuffling and attempting to step on someone who gets knocked to the ground.
He’s had his share of health issues.
In the midst of his rise in the music industry, Alsina dealt with — and still does — a variety of health issues that have handicapped him. He collapsed in the middle of a concert in 2014, suffering ten seizures, and ended up in a coma for three days. The following year, he underwent eye surgery and announced that he was blind in his left eye. In 2017, he announced on Red Room Talk with Pinkett Smith, that he has a liver disease that makes his autoimmune system attack itself. The bad news didn’t stop there. In 2019, Alsina revealed that, because of his autoimmune disease, he was losing his ability to walk.
His Jada story starts with Jaden.
In 2015, Jaden Smith introduced Alsina to Pinkett Smith at the Wireless Festival in London. A photo of them looking into the distance shows Smith with a flirty smile as Alsina sips a drink. It spread through the web like wildfire due to the fact that, around that time, there were rumors spreading that Will and Pinkett Smith were preparing to divorce. In a 2018 Red Table Talk, Pinkett revealed that this was when Alsina came to her for help with his life and that their meeting was nothing more than friendly.
He’s been anxious to tell the world about his alleged relationship with Jada.
Birthday shoutouts on Instagram are typically friendly and involve a joint selfie and a few heartfelt words. For Pinkett Smith’s birthday in 2018, Alsina wrote a stirring, romantic, and jaw-dropping dedication post that all but confirmed that he had romantic feelings for her. Hitch himself could have wrote it. “I don’t believe in luck,” he wrote. “I believe in God’s divine order. & you are an example of God’s divinity in It’s covering over my life. A beautifully complex individual you are.. I could spend a lifetime decoding you.” He continued this adorable spiel with, “You’re a little piece of heaven here on earth. The fortune in my cookie.” For his birthday that same year, Jada showed similar affection in an Instagram post. “I’ve watched you fight for your health … I’ve watched you fight for your sobriety and I’ve watched you fight for your meaning of life.” She continued, “Through it all … I’ve witnessed the power of one amazzzzing Virgo. I’m so proud of you and I got all the love in the world for you. I’m wishing you the best of everything! Soldier on Young Lion … soldier on.”
In 2019, Alsina remixed Kehlani’s song, “Nunya,” and once again spurred people to believe that him and Smith were a thing. In the song, he sings, “You’re just an actress putting on a show,” as he explores how he feels about a woman rejecting him romantically while keeping up with who she’s seeing. Here’s the icing on the cake: In the video for the song, at that particular line, Alsina texts a woman named “Koren” — which happens to be Pinkett Smith’s birth middle name — and sends her a GIF of the actress.
He’s back and ready to go.
The timing of Alsina’s romantic claims with Pinkett Smith feels pretty spot-on. It’s right after the release of his first album in five years. With a newfound spotlight from this potential relationship to the seeming handle on his health issues that have plagued his career, it seems like he’s back to making music, this time for good. That’s how it goes on the Pursuit of Happyness.