Nobody’s perfect, as Jada Pinkett Smith is learning. The actress admitted that she was “harder” on daughter Willow than son Jaden while they were growing up, but she added that she had a reason behind it.
During Tuesday’s episode of Red Table Talk, Willow called out her mom for having different standards for her kids.
The 19-year-old singer explained that when they were younger, Jada would be on Willow’s back to get ready for school quickly, but was more relaxed with Jaden, who is now 22.
“I’d be ready at the door … and he’s getting his shoes on,” Willow said. “There is a difference between how Bl-ack moms will treat their daughters and their sons.”
Jada addressed Willow’s concerns on the show and agreed she was right. The Matrix 4 star said, “She might have a point because I would be like, ‘No, you’ve got to be on it.'” But she would tell Jaden, “‘You, Nah’… And then I will be like, ‘And his father will deal with that. But you, you’re mine.'”
Jada said the double standard has to do with her own experience as a Bla-ck woman and the expectations from society. “Because I know in this world, we have to work harder,” she continued. “I knew that she’s going to have it twice as hard. I needed you to be strong because I know what this world is like for us as Bl-ack women.”
Willow now seems to think the lesson was worth it, saying, “I do be getting to work on time” and agreeing, “We have to work 10 times as hard.”The emotional conversation allowed Jada to have a “lightbulb moment,” as she called it when she realized how her projections on her daughter may have aff-ected Willow.
She said, “So my fear for having a Bla-ck daughter—and what I felt like she needed to be in this world—put me in a position to be a little harder on her and that’s probably how we are with each other.”Willow could see how the interactions with her mom shaped her relationships with other people as she got older. “People would be like, they’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh. Why are you being so mean?’ And I’m like, ‘You think this is mean?'” the “Female Energy” singer said.
Earlier in the show, Jada explained another thing she’s learned from Willow about being a good mother: how to listen and not take it personally.” Sometimes when I listen to Willow, I have to just be quiet, because it doesn’t matter what my intention was,” she said. “It’s important for me to just listen, have your reality, as hu-rtful as it is. It’s not about trying to make excuses.”
Considering the Red Table Talk episode was titled “Why Are Women Mean to Each Other?” the convo also touched on mean girls they’ve enco-untered throughout their lives, with Jada confessing that she holds gr-udges. The 49-year-old explained, “I wouldn’t say I’m a mean girl, but I’ma tell you what I am, and that’s a petty b!tch.” She added, “I might not do some mean things, but if you do something to me, baby, let me tell you I’ma hold onto it until the moment comes.”
For her part, Willow reflected on an experience with a mean cousin, though they’ve since “settled our differences.”Willow recalled that the cousin developed faster and had long flowing hair.”My hair, you know, I got the Afro vibe. I was super sk!nny. I was like a to-mboy, and I would always tell her the dudes that I liked,” Willow said. “She would date him every time. And so after like three times, I was like you know what, you’re the du-mb one because you keep on telling her.”
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