“It Was Exploitative Of Me And Pac”: Jada Pinkett Smith Still Feels Tupac Biopic Was “Very Disrespectful”
It was nearly a month ago that the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me was released. It was also nearly a month ago that Jada Pinkett Smith spoke about her disappointment with the film and the way it portrayed her relationship with the rap legend. She applauded the work of Demetrius Shipp Jr. and Kat Graham, who played Pac and Pinkett, but also made sure to point out the inaccuracies of the film, saying on Twitter, “The reimagining of my relationship to Pac has been deeply hurtful.”
Graham would go on to say that she was confused by Pinkett Smith’s criticism of the film because she had been contacted to help with it.
“When I first got the role, I reached out to (her) a year and a half ago,” Graham said. “The point of reaching out to her, as well as the other producers on the film, was to ensure the integrity of the story and the character. I even spoke to her last week and she had nothing but support.”
For the record though, Graham said to Vanity Fair that she didn’t speak to Pinkett Smith until after completing the film. Despite the comments, Graham still had nothing but positive things to say about the woman she played in All Eyez on Me.
“I have a lot of love for her,” she said. “I hope people just see the movie and make the choice for themselves.”
Now that a little time has passed, one might assume that Pinkett Smith’s feelings have changed, but that’s far from the case. In an interview with V-103’s Ryan Cameron Morning Show to promote Girls Trip, when asked about where she was coming when she called out the project, Pinkett Smith made it clear that she’s still not pleased with the story filmmakers tried to tell about her relationship with Tupac. In fact, she teared up when speaking about her old friend:
One thing I want to say about me making that statement was, it wasn’t to have people not go see it. It was just I wanted people to know what you’re seeing in regards to my relationship with Tupac is not true. And that was important to me because…my relationship really is special. And it was very complicated. And I just felt like it was a huge disservice and that really through my relationship with Pac would have shown people what he truly was. Because it was one thing to see Pac’s persona publicly, and who he was personally. And you know, what made it even more painful was those guys know me. Those Code Black dudes know me. We’ve done business together. We did Free Angela together, so I know that they knew how to reach for me. And that’s not to say that I would have participated in it either, but it was just, across the board, I thought it was just handled in a very disrespectful way. And I felt like it was exploitative of me and Pac, how they used our relationship to sell a movie. And I just felt like it was tomb raiding in regards to Pac. And if you’re really saying you’re honoring a man’s legacy, then honor his legacy. And if you don’t have the story, fall back until you do. And I feel like we as Black people, we have got to protect those individuals that we say are important to us, to our history and to our culture. We can’t expect other people to do that if we’re not willing to do that ourselves. Pac is precious to us. It was just really hard and it was really hard to just be with it in the way that I had to, but it’s all good. But I do believe that when we’re doing biopics about people that are a part of our community and who are special to us, we have to treasure and we really have to tell those stories in a special way. And it can’t be about money. It can’t be about money…I just really feel like these cats — nobody’s stupid. We all here know how this game is played. Ain’t nobody dumb. So you can pull the wool over anybody’s eyes you want, but here’s what’s real: If they can wake up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror, because we all know what sits in our hearts, and here’s who you can’t hide from — the higher power. So if you really feel like you did right by Pac, then congratulations. But if you didn’t, really sit with that. Cause I hope next time if you get an opportunity to make another movie about a legend, you’ll do a different thing.
It’s probably easy to hear what she has to say and believe that she’s taking it all a little too personally. Artistic license does give filmmakers the opportunity to dramatize things or fill in certain blanks to keep audiences entertained. However, no one knows our lives and our stories the way we do, and if you felt someone was selling a false story about you and someone you loved to make money, you would likely be passionate, and pissed, too.
Check out her comments below, which begin around the 17:30 mark: