All Articles Tagged "Jada Pinkett Smith"

The Hits And Misses From Chris Rock’s Opening Monologue

February 29th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Chris Rock's opening monologue

Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Last night, I made a conscious decision to avoid the Oscars. I chose to watch the Justice for Flint event instead. I was certainly interested to hear and see what Chris Rock was going to say though. I just knew his monologue would be all over the internet within a matter of minutes. And it was.

For those who didn’t catch it last night, you can watch it below. First, he walked out to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and then launched into his spiel.

Those of you who have active Twitter accounts, you know that the next best thing to actually watching a moment on television, is joining the discussion on Twitter. Last night, I saw that people were conflicted on Rock’s monologue. There were some who loved it, praising it as brave and appropriate, just what we needed. Then there were others who felt he could have gone farther. There were those who felt like he was making fun of the very people who were expressing their anger and frustration by choosing to boycott the show.

And then there was that awkward moment where Stacey Dash, introduced as the director of diversity, came out and wished everyone a Happy Black History Month. You could have heard a pin drop. You know people are done with you when they can’t even laugh at you being the butt of a joke. Her presence is just completely unwelcomed.

Anyway, back to Chris Rock. After I watched this morning, I could see where everyone was coming from. He made some valid points when he said, aside from the boycott, actors of color just want more opportunities, the same types of opportunities White actors receive. And it’s true. The talent is there. He mentioned Jamie Foxx specially and his role in Ray. Saying that Foxx was so good, that people went and unplugged the real Ray Charles because there was no need for two.

He made a good point about the fact that there’s no need for a separation of best actress and actor, saying that it’s not a physical competition where there are obvious differences. Men and women can be judged in the same category.

He made a good quip about the in memoriam segment featuring all the Black people who were shot and killed by the police. Real.

Then he asked a really good question about whether or not Hollywood is racist. He said they’re not “burning cross” racist but that for all these “liberal” White writers, directors and producers, they still don’t hire Black people. And they’re the nicest White people around.

Most poignantly, was the note about opportunity. Things have got to change. And I appreciate Chris Rock for standing in a room full of White people and speaking that level of truth. Hopefully, to punctured some people.

But then there were moments that caused me to give him a side eye. There were moments where he seemed to be making fun of the very people who were expressing their pain at repeatedly being ignored and disregarded.

He mentioned  that there were people who called for him to quit his upcoming hosting gig. And he said it’s always unemployed people who tell you to quit. Well, that’s the very reason we’ve come to this place. Because there are so many Black actors and actresses who struggle to find consistent work. And I’m not suggesting that Chris Rock should have declined the hosting gig. If he weren’t there, none of our issues would have been addressed. Still, whatever decision Black actors made about attending or not attending the award show, they shouldn’t have been judged for it.

He also took a stab at Jada Pinkett Smith for her role as the catalyst in this whole boycott thing. He said Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting the Oscars was like him boycotting Rihanna’s panties. He wasn’t invited. Rock, like so many Black people, seemed to suggest that the only reason Jada decided to boycott this year’s Oscars was because Will Smith wasn’t nominated. That argument makes me so tired. I personally don’t believe that was her initial motivation. But even if it were, just because an action is selfish or self-serving, it doesn’t mean that the action itself is wrong. The two are not mutually exclusive. It wasn’t just Will that wasn’t nominated, not a single Black person was. When there were roles and work that would have warranted a nomination. Like Michael B. Jordan in Creed, like Jason Mitchell in Straight Outta Compton, like the director and screenwriter Rick Famuyiwa or lead actor Shameik Moore in Dope. But there wasn’t a single one. Even if her decision to boycott started with Will, it’s bigger than him. And I honestly believe Jada recognizes that.This has been happening for far too long. And as long as both Will and Jada have been in the industry, maybe she’s tired of seeing it.

Then, while Chris Rock admits that Hollywood is racist, he also said that there were no protests in the ’60’s. I’ll just quote him here, so you can get the gist.

“You’ve got to figure that it [no Black nominations] happened in the ‘60s. And Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. Too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. When your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”

There is some truth to that. But it was also very unsettling to watch White people laugh about our raped and lynched grandmothers. Furthermore, the two aren’t unrelated. If someone hates you, violates your body, views you as property, or strings you up from a tree, they damn sure aren’t going to put you in their movie. It’s all the same fight to me. At the end of the day, the economic injustice, police brutality and even the water crisis in Flint, is about poor and Black people fighting to be seen, to be heard, represented, regarded as human beings, worthy of fair and just treatment. It’s the very reason this new wave’s movement is called Black Lives Matter. Because there is so much from entertainment, to society that seems to suggest that they don’t. And while we certainly don’t need White validation, representation matters. It reasserts personhood. It proves not only that there are more than White people in the world and it illustrates that our stories have value and merit as well. And they deserve to be recognized.

Exclusive: Mary J. Blige Gets “Real” About Greatest Love Lesson, What She’d Tell Her Younger Self

February 21st, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Mary J Blige Real Talk Radio

Ever since starting her career in the late ’80s, Mary J. Blige has always expressed herself beautifully through song. “No More Drama.” “My Life.” “Be Happy.” Her hurt, her pain, her pursuit of happiness. She’s shared every bit of herself, and fans have connected. But when the opportunity came for Blige to help her fans in a different, possibly deeper way, she jumped at the chance. And that’s what Real Talk, her radio show on Apple’s Beats 1 Radio, is about.

“I felt it was a great idea to have this as an extension so people can know they’re not alone out there,” Blige said during our conversation over the phone. “Real Talk is about expressing yourself.”

Each episode of Real Talk is focused on a topic pulled from the title of Blige’s songs from her vast catalog. Blige and her famous guests share their experiences, as well as the music that pulled them through such trials in the hopes of connecting with fans.

Since it debuted in November, Blige has spoken with the likes of Demi LovatoMissy Elliott, and Taraji P. Henson to name a few, about their journey. This Sunday, Blige is speaking with Jada Pinkett Smith about life before the fame, which Blige said is sure to be a “powerful” conversation.

But we wanted to have some “real talk” with Blige. So we spoke to her about the music — from others — that pushed her through her pain, what she’s learned about love and being in love, and if she could, what she would go back and tell her younger self now that she’s overcome so much and is “Just Fine.” Here are few gems dropped by MJB.

Songs That Got Her Through Difficult Times

“Angel” by Anita Baker really, really touched my heart. I remember being a kid and listening to WBLS and having to go to bed at night, but I had a clock radio. I would wait at night for the song to come on because it just touched my heart. A healing to me, the way it sounded.

There was another song by Karen Wheeler of Soul II Soul called “Keep on Movin’.” It was the song that inspired me. It made me feel like I was going to get out of the projects and life was going to be better. Every word in that song–she kept saying, “It’s our time, time today, keep on moving.” That song was very important to me.

And, of course, “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Roy Ayers. That song was very powerful to me. It was something in the instruments and the way they were singing that record that made me feel like everything was going to be all right. So those would be the songs that were strong in helping me to see a path out. I can even feel what they meant and did to me then as I’m speaking about them now.

Advice 45-Year-Old Mary Would Give 20-Year-Old Mary

The first thing I would say to her is don’t be afraid of what you’re about to become. She was very afraid of her own power. She was scared to death to meet this person you’re speaking to now. I would also tell her, don’t dumb yourself down to please others. Don’t push yourself down or push yourself back so people can get ahead of you because she always wanted everyone to be happy and comfortable. She would dumb herself down and push herself back. And I would tell her to believe in the God that you’re feeling. Believe in that thing that you feel and know is bigger than you, and believe that it’s real. That’s what I would tell her.

Greatest Lesson Learned About Love

It’s just love. It has no shape, color, restraints or loopholes. You either walk in love or you walk in hate. It’s a learning process but I’m learning that love is love and God is love. If God is the love that we believe He is, we have to love openly, freely and just walk in love. Love is the most powerful thing and it heals everything. It will fix everything. When you walk in hate and revenge, it’s terrible. It feels really bad. I know it. But when you walk in love, it hurts, but it heals. You might think revenge feels good and it hurts others, but it doesn’t heal. If you walk in love, you will have to forgive some people you don’t want to forgive but it will be healthy for you. But if you walk in hate and revenge, you will never be healed, and those people will just go on with their lives.

Greatest Lesson Learned About Romantic Love And Loving Yourself

The right kind of love is only going to come when you find yourself. That’s it. I know that from experience. From waiting for someone to fix me and change me. It doesn’t work that way. When you are happy with who you are, that person will be happy with you. And life will be romantic. Life will be fun. It will be everything you want it to be. But true love comes when you find true love within yourself. When you can look at yourself and really accept whatever it is that you are and accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can change, a person is going to love you for you and y’all are going to have the best time.

Real Talk airs every other Sunday on Beats 1 Radio at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST, with a new episode airing today and a show encore airing on Monday at 6 a.m. PST/9 a.m. EST.

What Does White Hollywood Have To Say About Diversity?

January 26th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Jada Pinkett Smith at Golden Globes

WENN

Ever since Jada Pinkett Smith announced to the world that she (and later her hubby) would not be making an appearance at this year’s Academy Awards, the mainstream media has been scrambling to find out what the rest of Hollywood thinks about it.

And while most are keeping tally on how many Black stars will or will not attend the event, the most interesting responses to #OscarsSoWhite have come by way of White Hollywood.

So in the interest of keeping tabs on them (so we know whose films to support and not support in the future) as they do on us, I have decided to create a list.

I know: It sounds like a Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel sketch. And while I can’t guarantee that it will be as funny as a Kimmel sketch, let’s not act like Kimmel is really that funny to begin with…

Honestly, Janet Hubert Has A Good Reason To Be Bitter…And It’s Bigger Than The Smiths

January 22nd, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Source: NBC

Source: NBC

So, Janet Hubert is still talking…

More specifically, Hubert has done an interview with the LA Times elaborating more on her disdain for the Smiths as well as talk of a boycott.

The interview is very insightful; and way too long to copy and paste here, So I encourage you to read the whole thing. But for the sake of brevity, I just want to focus on her responses to the criticisms that her original call-out of the Smiths was rooted in bitterness.

In particular:

People have said you’re bitter for bringing up “old stuff.” How do you respond?

Every day of my life, I’ve had to deal with “old stuff.” Every time I try to move forward, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” Every time I walk into a room or make a phone call, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” I brought that story up simply to say, “You didn’t stand up 25 or whatever years ago to get more money for your cast” — and I asked him as a fellow actor, not as the person who owned the show. I had no idea. I brought it up to say that if you don’t stand up all the time, you can’t pick and choose when you decide to stand up.

If you Google me, you’ll see I’ve worked with the [National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s] Black Women’s Roundtable from school to school, community center to community center, church to church. I’ve always been a warrior.

I have dealt with the ramifications of [rumors about being difficult on the “Fresh Prince” set] and I’m tired. You’re asking my fellow actors to step out and put their lives in jeopardy, and hang themselves the way you hung me. No, bro. I’m not going to let you do that. Especially when you put your woman out there to do it.

What then do you have to say regarding the broader issue of diversity in Hollywood, as it pertains to award shows?

Why do people need awards? Don’t you know your value and your worth? I don’t need anybody’s award or acceptance. We have a bigger problem. There needs to be huge changes in the system, but it’s not our system. Let’s make our own system. But I don’t want to hear those two. When you don’t stand up for the people who helped you get your start and now you’re asking people to stand up with you, it’s ironic to me. And it’s suspect.

If I understand correctly, you’re saying diversity is an issue, but black Hollywood has its own problems?

I think the black community has a lot to work on internally with what they deem successful. Did you know NeNe Leakes made it on Broadway before Janet Hubert? Something’s wrong with the whole system of bad behavior being rewarded. I think in the black community, ratchet has became the new black, ghetto has become the new black.”

This is not just about the Oscars. And truthfully, it doesn’t sound like it is just about The Smiths either.

For all intents and purposes, it is clear that Hubert feels a bit slighted here by all of Hollywood. Some may call it bitterness. I could definitely see that.

But if we are being honest, we can also see where she is coming from. And that is important too.

Because it is a narrative that speaks to how we tend to treat and relate to each other. In particular, how we treat those of us who have not been chosen as “exceptional” by the very institutions, which do not respect us all.

Even without White folks being present; (which is a oxymoron because thanks to White supremacy, the White gaze is omnipresent), Black folks will still make decisions about each other based upon what White folks think.

That’s what I gathered from her first video in which she called out Will Smith for not standing with her during contract negotiations. And that is also what I gather from Hubert when I read this portion of the aforementioned interview:

So you’re not saying diversity in Hollywood isn’t an issue?

We’re all complaining about diversity in Hollywood, but we’ve got to address the colorism within the black community of Hollywood first. I’m called “dark-skinned Aunt Viv.” [Reid] is called “light-skinned Aunt Viv.” The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood. It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.

The Oscars were never designed for us. There are actors who have never gotten an Oscar and have done amazing work. If you are waiting for an award of a little … gold statue and that’s supposed to validate you, then you’re not in this business for the right reasons. We do the work. It’s about the work. It’s about taking the pages of a script and bringing them to life. It ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work.”

Hubert might be bitter. How else can you explain her saying “it ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work” after a lifetime of calling out folks for not taking the issues that Black folks go through in Hollywood seriously?

Still, there is no denying that she has suffered greatly for being the difficult one in an industry, which has been less than welcoming to Black folks.  And while everyone was keeping their heads down low and doing all of the things that Hollywood told them to do and be, Hubert had something to say (and seeing how she is now, we can imagine that she had something to say about all of it).

And when she stood up, she found herself standing alone – and ostracized for it. And not just by White folks but by a bunch of us too, who felt she and her causes were too much of a risk and a liability to their own careers to be on that “old radical stuff.”

Generally, I agree with the Smiths’ personal pledge to not only boycott the Oscars but to bring resources back to the community. Regardless of what the motivation, the outcome of said action has the potential to bring about a lot of reform, which could help a lot of Black folks in Hollywood make inroads – even Hubert’s bitter behind.

But I also believe that Hubert has a right to feel some type of way about years of being passed over and disregarded in favor of folks who might be less trained but could say “yessir” more.

And while we are calling out White folks in Hollywood for overlooking us, we need to pay attention to the ways in which we have been complacent in our own oppression.

Stacey, Right-Winged, White Folks Will Never Accept You, No Matter How Much Racist Rhetoric You Spout

January 20th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Fox News

Source: Fox News

My memories of high school are faint, to say the very least. But I will never forget the one day these two boys, one White and one Black, in biology class were standing around our lab station telling ridiculous jokes.

The White boy, laughing before he could even deliver the punchline said,

“How do you get a group of Black men to stop having sex with a White woman?”

The Black guy grins and then asked,

“How?”

The White guy, still laughing, says,

“You throw a basketball at them.”

And to my shock and horror, the White and Black guy both fell out laughing. These two buffoons were my lab partners at least for that day. The White boy wasn’t my concern. The Black guy is the one who disgusted me the most in this situation.

And I let him know.

“Why are you laughing at that?”

“Because it’s funny.”

“You think it’s funny that he just insulted you and everyone who looks like you?”

“It’s just a joke.”

I can’t remember how much longer the conversation went on or how I eventually ridded myself of those two fools. I honestly haven’t thought about that particular incident in years. But today, in hearing Stacey Dash’s comments about Jada Pinkett Smith, BET and Black History Month, I was reminded.

While you might think Dash represents the Black guy laughing at the racist jokes, her recent comments show that she’s the one delivering them, waiting for her band of racist White folks to laugh and pat her on the back for a job well done, an ignorant, hate-filled speech properly delivered.

Fox News makes a great habit of asking Stacey Dash about Black issues. So it was only a matter of time before they got her take on Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of the Academy Awards.

As expected, it was a doozy.

“I think it’s ludicrous because we have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.” 

Fox News host Steve Doocy said, “So you say there should not be a BET channel?” 

“No, just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month,” Dash replied. 

“You know, we’re Americans. Period. That’s it.”

“Are you saying there shouldn’t be a Black History Month because there isn’t a White History Month?” Doocy pressed.

“Exactly!” .

The way Dash hit every single racist, privilege infested argument, you would swear she was teaching Resolved Ignorance. Those words about Black History Month and segregation are the very same ones uninformed or flat-out racist White people across the country love to tout, knowing good and well, with the exception of slavery and Martin Luther King, there is little to no Black History taught in the public school curriculum. And BET and The Image Awards are born out of the fact that our films, as the Academy Awards showed in 2016, are still not receiving the recognition they deserve. If Sylvester Stallone could be nominated for an Oscar, Stacey Dash deserves one too for her role as Dionne in Clueless. Lord knows, it’s her one of her few contributions to society.

But if you ask me, Stacey Dash knows exactly why networks like BET exist. As the network so aptly reminded their Instagram followers, she certainly took their money, probably in response to the fact that she couldn’t get any love from the mainstream.

 

I don’t know if the statements represent Dash’s true beliefs. It seemed like she was being spoon-fed throughout the broadcast.

But whether they represent her true feelings or she’s only saying what she thinks her White bosses and their White audience want to hear. She’s “the Black friend” who laughs at racists jokes and lets her White friends say “the N-word” because Hip Hop is to blame.  It’s very clear she’s being used as a pawn. And pawns are often the first ones sacrificed in an attempt to preserve the empire. And Fox News is an empire. Stacey Dash, the Johnnetta come lately, is not high on their priority list. After all, there are plenty of right-winged, fairer skinned folk who will say exactly what she just said.

We saw that in the way they suspended homegirl with a quickness when she cussed on television, speaking about President Obama.

She can look to Michael Steele or Hermain Cain and even Dr. Ben Carson (because he’s clearly on his way out) to see the ways in which the party has dismissed and disregarded right-winged African Americans who thought they had an “in.”

I don’t know what Stacey Dash hopes to gain from all of this. More acting opportunities? Exposure? Perhaps she just wants people to talk about her. And if that’s the case, she’s certainly accomplished her goals. But in the meantime it reeks of desperation. Fox News knows it, Hollywood knows it and so does the Black community. Once Fox finds their next token, I don’t know where Stacey will find herself but it certainly won’t be in the good graces of the people who only sought to exploit her Blackness in the first place.

Why Jada Pinkett Smith’s Oscar Boycott Is Corny, But Necessary

January 19th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jada Pinkett Smith made a very powerful plea to Black Hollywood, but from a very corny place.

What I mean is, in this video post uploaded to her Facebook account, Smith made it known that she would not be attending or watching the Academy Awards.

More specifically she said:

“I can’t help but ask the question, is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere? I ask the question, have we come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement or respect of any group? Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power. I’m simply asking the question.

Here’s what I believe: The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose. To invite whomever they choose. And now I think that it is our responsibility now to make the change. Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit. That are just as good as the so-called ‘mainstream ones.’ I don’t know.

But here’s what I do know: Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity. It diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful. And let’s not forget it.

So, let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us – differently.”

Generally speaking, I am of the firm belief that asking for help is neither undignified nor does it make one powerless. Quite the contrary. And as a people, we need to stop asking – no, demanding – that we suffer in silence for the sake of public image, a.k.a., “dignity.”

Nevertheless, this is a very powerful sentiment from one-half of Hollywood’s Black power couple. And not something that we haven’t heard countless times from those outside and inside Hollywood before. For instance, Anthony Mackie has been very vocal in his belief that Black people need to stop begging for recognition and begin creating our own.

But powerful sentiments aside, I hope that means Smith and others, including the likes of Snoop Lion and Spike Lee, who too are supporting the boycott, will keep that in mind the next time an invite comes in the mail from the NAACP Image Awards or BET Honors award shows.

And I’m serious.

In a video posted to his social media networks, Snoop Lion not only offered his support for Smith’s planned boycott but keenly noted, “I say let’s have a hood awards where we give all Black people what they due and deserve. From yesteryear, today and tomorrow.”

Googly side-eye emoticon…

But to be fair, he likely rolled up the invite and smoked it by accident.

Even still, there is something to be said for folks getting in their feelings about what these White award shows aren’t doing and how we need to “boycott,” but when Black award season rolls around, you have Terrence J and M.C. Hammer accepting an award on their behalf.

To me, that’s corny.

Also kind of corny is telling Black folks to show some dignity by not “begging” the Oscars for acceptance while previously advocating for the further integration of Essence magazine (i.e., The “if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers?” question she posted on her Facebook page).

And if that doesn’t meet your corniness threshold, here comes the original Aunt Viv with a video of her own to point out how it wasn’t fair for Smith to ask other actors and actresses to “jeopardize” their careers. Especially when the power couple personally made millions from “the very people you talking about boycotting.” Likewise, Janet Hubert pointed out that Jada would probably have no interest in a boycott of the Academy Awards if not for her husband’s film getting a snub.

She also took a moment to, once again, remind us that Smith ain’t nothin’ but a low-down dirty dog. More accurately, the “Blackstress” said in full saturation:

“And I seem to recall that twenty-six-seven, twenty-five…I don’t seem to remember. But I remember at option time coming to you and saying, you know what Will? You’re the star of the show. Why don’t we all get together and with you, maybe we can get a little raise. Maybe the network, since the show is such a hit and you being the star of the show, your influence will help us greatly like they did on Friends; like they did on White shows. Do you remember that? I do. And your response to me was, ‘My deal is my deal and y’alls deal is y’alls deal.’

Well, karma must be a b—h because here you are…”

Aunt Viv over there sounding more like Aunt Esther.

To be fair, the Smiths have not exactly been dormant when it comes to social justice issues. In fact, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince once led a very public boycott of the 1989 Grammy Awards even though they were nominated and ultimately won an award. As noted by DJ Jazzy Jeff in an interview from 2014 with BET:

At the time, less than three decades ago, while the awards committee didn’t want to televise the category nomination for rap’s first Grammy recipients, they did ask them to perform. “It was almost like, you kind of want us to be the token,” Jeff said. “This is our contribution to hip hop on the Grammys, but it’s not big enough for us to televise the category.”

That “slap in the face” led the duo to boycott. “We didn’t know what that was going to do for our career, but at that point, in that stage of hip hop, you had people saying that hip hop is only going to be around for a certain amount of time.”

And I would be flagrant if I didn’t mention that the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation and Overbrook Entertainment has put a lot of their money behind projects. That includes the Million Man March, Justice…Or Else! and the Free Angela and All Political Prisoners documentary, as well as the film and television programs Love & Basketball, ATL and the Queen Latifah Show. And then there is Jada Pinkett Smith’s very passionate support of the campaign to end human trafficking.

So if Jada, in particular (because Will hasn’t said a thing), is only boycotting the Academy from a self-serving place, one could see how she might feel like she has earned herself some privilege.

Not to mention that this – Hollywood – is their chosen profession. And unlike other actors and actresses who like to seek change elsewhere in the world while failing to call out the injustices in their own backyard, I appreciate Jada for at least trying to use her position to push for reform. Even if she is now just waking up.

Wherever it comes from, there’s no doubt that this boycott needs to happen. Hell, it needed to happen years ago, and not just at Oscar time. There is a lot of money being made off of our image and stories while not including us. There are a lot of tax incentives (i.e., our tax dollars) going to help support Hollywood films that don’t support us. And there are a lot of good Black actors, actresses, directors, producers, writers…down to the Black gophers being denied key platforms and positions and money within a global industry needed to help us build and ensure that our own institutions flourish.

Yes, we have to build our own, but we can’t build our own in isolation. Even Tyler Perry, who has his own, answers to somebody.

And yes, we have to build our own. But building our own takes time, especially when we are attempting to build our own in a way that structurally opposes how “the man” had come to build his (i.e., through oppression, slavery, imperialism, colonialism, segregation, discrimination, etc…).

So while I fully understand the criticism of the boycott and too think the possible motivation for it is corny, I’m also thankful that one of Black Hollywood’s biggest gatekeeping couples has finally seen some parts of the light. Maybe we can finally get somewhere…

According To Chris Rock, The Oscars Are “The White BET Awards”

January 17th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Just earlier this week the nominees of the Oscars, presented by The Academy Awards, were announced and Hollywood and average Jane’s and Joe’s alike have been talking.

Per usual, much drama and controversy was called to annual awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry due to the lack of diversity — in this point brown and black folks– in the nomination pool. No black performers were nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress for the second year in a row, PEOPLE reported. This also prompted upset Twitter users to create the hashtag  and trending topic #OscarsSoWhite. Get it?

Jada Pinkett Smith even chimed in on Twitter with her opinions on the nominations tweeting,  “At the Oscars . . . people of color are always welcomed to give out awards . . . even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments,” Smith wrote. “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment, J,” she concluded.

Well, to lighten the mood, comedian and actor Chris Rock, who’ll host this year’s event, also took to Twitter and voiced his opinion and share a promo video for the awards ceremony. “The . The White BET Awards,” he captioned the post. Leave it to Rock to come through with the comedic relief.

But seriously though, we’re with Jada on this one. What are your thoughts, should people of color refrain from participating all together? The 88th annual Academy Awards will take place Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Will Smith Sends The Sweetest Birthday Wish To His Wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith

September 18th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Splash News

Jada Pinkett-Smith celebrates her 44th birthday today, and her husband, Will Smith, took to social media to send his wife of 18 years a thoughtful and heartfelt birthday wish. The sweet message accompanied a throwback photo of the couple snapped at Pinkett-Smith’s mother’s house 20 years ago. The Focus actor writes:

This was taken at your mom’s house 20 years ago. That’s a long time ago!!! So I decided to do some math…

I have sung happy birthday to you 20 times and I have bought you 19 birthday presents (I was mad that one year). I have watched you blow out 693 candles (737 after tonite). I’ve told you “I love you” at least 8,285 times. And of the nearly 3.96 Billion women on the planet – there is only 1 that I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Happy Birthday, my Love!

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Love this.

Let ‘Em Live: 4 Bold Parenting Tips From Jada Pinkett Smith

September 18th, 2015 - By Najwa Moses
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WENN

WENN

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have had their parenting style come under question for year, frankly because moms and dads feel like the Smith’s ideals are either outlandish or just bit too forward.

We’ve culled together some of Jada’s bold parenting tips and quips over the years, so you can judge for yourself.

Tip 1: Don’t Project Your Baggage Onto Your Kids

We all remember when then 13-year-old Willow was caught on Instagram lounging in a bed with a shirtless 20-year-old actor Moises Arias.

When the Internet lost its mind about the image, here’s what Pinkett had to stay, staunchly defending her parenting skills and little Willow:

“Just don’t pollute something that’s not dirty,” Pinkett Smith, 42, told Net-a-Porter’s The Edit when asked about the controversy.
“I want my kids to be happy and I want them to be themselves,” she said, noting that parenting requires trust. “I was saying to a friend the other day, ‘Remember, our kids are not us.’ They’re not. Sometimes we’re trying to fix things that happened to us or projecting [onto them], and that’s a terrible, terrible trap.” — Us Magazine

 

Tip 2: Mothers Should Teach Daughters To Own Their Bodies

Once again the Internet went crazy when the Smith’s let Willow cut her hair back in the day. And here’s how Jada handled that on Facebook no less:

“The question why I would let Willow cut her hair, first the let must be challenged,” she wrote. “This is a world where women [and] girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves — that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self-determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain.” — Us Magazine

Tip 3: Our Kids Don’t Break Rules, Because We Don’t Have Any

“We don’t have rules. We come up with agreements,” Jada, 39, explains to Style magazine. “Kids are little people, and we’re in life to guide them. Trying to rule someone is always an illusion, and it’s no different with children.”

Tip 4: Let The Kids Make Up Their Own Punishment

Going along with her “no rules” theory, which she said she came to after raising three kids prior to having her her own, Jada believes that punishment should be negotiated between parent and child. And here’s how that works out in real life: Jada gave an example of a situation that happened when Willow signed up for a social-networking site after being told not to do it.

“I told her not to, so I was so mad,” Jada explains. “I said, ‘What do you think I should do now?’ So Willow said, ‘Mom, take my computer away.’ And I said, ‘How long for?’ She said a month.” “So it’s negotiations,” Jada says. “I’m not saying it’s always perfect. I have my bloops and my blunders. But I’m doing my best.” — Hollywood Life 

What do you think about Jada’s parenting tips and lessons?

Step-Parenting 101: 4 Top Tips From Jada Pinkett Smith

September 16th, 2015 - By Najwa Moses
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WENN

As we take the time out to wish Jada Pinkett Smith a happy 43rd birthday (September 18), we also wanted to honor the role of step-parents this week as we celebrate National Stepfamily Day.
While many may or may not agree with the parenting style of the Pinkett Smith’s we must admit they seem to be a happily blended family with Jada being very vocal over the years as to how she co-parents with Sheree Fletcher, the mother of Will’s first child, Trey.
Here are four top quotes and tips from Jada on the role of a step-parent and how to make blended families truly blend.
A few years back, Jada penned an open letter in response to a friend asking her how to handle loving her husband’s other children from a previous marriage. The response that Jada gave was not only invaluable but truly on point.

“Blended families are NEVER easy, but here’s why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation because… we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package…Period! If I didn’t want that…I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey…I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him…his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other… but we have learned to LOVE each other. These are the situations that separate the women from the girls.” — Huffington Post/Black Voices 

When asked why it was so important to her that “make things good” with Will Smith’s son, Trey, Jada discusses the scars that her parents divorce left on her:

“I wanted to do anything in my power to make sure Trey didn’t go through what I went through,” Jada said. “I had to learn to get out of my own ego and remember it wasn’t about me.” — Today’s Modern Family

But as we all know these things take time and adjustment on the behalf of everyone. Jada went on to explain that it wasn’t just about becoming a [step-parent] that took some adjustment on her part. It was having to understand that Will was going to have a relationship with Trey’s mom because they share a child. She said she had to support him in doing what was right even though it wasn’t easy.

“Greatness doesn’t come from ease. You want to do great things and you want it to be easy?? These don’t go hand in hand, but the fact that we enjoy holidays together with Trey’s mom and her new husband makes the tough part worth it. Trey knows we all get along, and that creates stability for him.”

And for those of you who are thinking that it maybe best to just “drop it and forget it” when it comes to the other parent, Jada will tell you that, that’s a definite  No in her book: Jada has also been quoted saying that she actively included Sheree in their family unit in order to keep Trey from feeling torn between them.

“I refused to have Trey feel like a step-child. He is not from my body, but he is a huge part of my spirit and soul. I wanted him to feel like he was a part of this circle. In order to do that, I had to make his mother a part of this circle, because your mother is your pulse to the world. Your mother is your everything. How can I truly appreciate and love Trey without embracing his mother?”  Atlanta Black Star 

Additionally, she never wanted to treat him as a step-child and doesn’t like using the term. Instead, she calls him her bonus son.

Honestly, whether you’ve got a blended family or not, there are some real gems here from Jada.