Imagine yourself as a married woman, sitting around the table from your mother, husband and daughter, revealing to your family and millions of viewers that your mother forced you to get married after getting pregnant. Your mother admits that she regrets pushing you to get married against your will, apologizing for the horrible turnout. Your daughter is just staring at you, shocked and astonished.
It’s not an easy conversation for many families to have, but Jada Pinkett Smith turned this wild imagination into a reality through her talk show Red Table Talk. As a host, she shows her audience that families can have real, healthy conversations — whether the topic may be unusual or uncomfortable.
Jada is almost like the modern-day superwoman — balancing her heavy work-life as an actress, businesswoman and TV show host while being an inspirational mother, a loving wife and (most importantly) a strong, independent woman.
(Photos: Jada Pinkett Smith Instagram @jadapinkettsmith)
Even during her childhood days, Jada showed particular interest and talent in performing arts. Seeing her potential, her grandmother — who raised her alongside her single mother — enrolled her in piano and dance lessons. She later attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and studied dance and theater. (Fun fact: While attending school, she met and became close friends with Tupac Shakur, who was one of her classmates!)
As a college student, Jada majored in theater but decided to drop out to work towards a more practical career path. However, her mother, who was fully aware of Jada’s talents, did not want her to give up so easily and sent her off to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actress. With that, her acting career was officially launched.
Almost immediately, she was given the opportunity to feature in an episode of True Colors, a sitcom from the 90s. Though she slowly received recognition for her acting in dramas and films, her rise to stardom was not immediate. After about five years of struggling to make a big name for herself, Jada received an offer to star in the 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy and became a hit. Since then, she has featured in many popular films — including Scream 2, The Matrix sequels and Collateral.
Growing up with a supportive family, Jada credits her parenting qualities to her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. As a mother of Jaden, Willow and (stepmom to) Trey, she is known to be one of the most family-oriented celebrities. The secret to her happy 23-year marriage with Will Smith is communication, she told the People Magazine. “We study with one another to see the core of the issue, uproot it, dissect it and handle it,” she said.
In collaboration with her husband, she created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) that promotes equality and gives opportunities for people to live to their fullest potential. According to the WJSFF website, the foundation has “invested millions of dollars and invaluable resources to accelerate the growth of initiatives that focus on deepening individual and collective empowerment.”
"Even though we try to act like color or economics or gender separates us, it doesn't. We're all in this thing called life together."
- Jada Pinkett Smith
As a passionate social justice activist, Jada is also committed to giving Black public figures an opportunity to speak their truth and project their opinions, especially through her show Red Table Talk. Guests like Jordyn Woods and Snoop Dogg have previously made an appearance to clear the air on a few scandals. The talk show also tackles important topics — such as racism, sexual assault and difficulties of marriage — that are not often discussed on TV. Red Table Talk, which offers unique perspectives from three generations of women, has quickly grown to be one of the most loved shows for addressing hard-hitting, yet relevant, topics. The show has even won the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Host.
Jada has also become the pillar of strength and an inspirational role model for those suffering from hair loss. In 2018, she revealed on her show that she is battling with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss and results in severe bald patches. Though she admitted that she struggled to accept the reality of losing hair in the beginning, she grew to love and found confidence in her new look. Now, she is often seen wearing turbans or headscarves and has mastered styling them. She even said she now feels like a queen when her head is wrapped. Her brave initiative to open up about a difficult topic has inspired others to learn to embrace their imperfections and love themselves for who they are.
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