Jemele Hill opened up about the trauma she faced as she watched her mother battle addiction throughout childhood on Wednesday’s emotional episode of Red Table Talk. Her mother, Denise, was also present during the episode.


Jemele Hill said her mother showed her what “crack-cocaine looked like”

The former ESPN SportsCenter host said she noticed her mother fall into a deep depression after she was sexually assaulted. Hill said she believed her mother turned to drugs to cope with the traumatic incident.

“Seeing my mother battle with this addiction, it was obviously something I was absorbing,” Hill told the show’s co-hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris, according to an exclusive clip shared on Red Table Talk Facebook page. “One of the harsher incidents was the night my mother showed me what a piece of crack cocaine looked like.”

The “Unbothered” podcast host said she recalled her mother telling her not to go anywhere near the addictive drug.

“She’s dealing with trying to understand the pain that she is in but at the same time mother enough to tell me, ‘Do not do this ever. I’m suffering from something I don’t even understand but I know one thing, I don’t ever want you to trade places with me.'”

Jemele Hill isn’t angry with her mother

Hill was just 6-years-old when she started to notice her mother “spiral” out of control.

“I just saw my mother falling apart [and] as a kid, you know something is wrong but you don’t know how to put your finger on it. As she continued to work through what we know as PTSD, all I could see was her slipping away,” the journalist shared.

“When you know that you’re the child of somebody in addiction is that you absorb so much of that. You enable, you navigate around and all I could do was be mad about the fact that I could not have this normal childhood.”

Later on in the show, the 46-year-old celeb said she wasn’t “angry” with her mother, despite watching her difficult battle with addiction.

According to PEOPLE, the Uphill author explained:

“It’s funny about how I started going to therapy because my mother said, ‘I think you’re angry and you just don’t know you’re angry. And maybe you need to see somebody.’ And I was like, ‘I ain’t angry!’ So I thought well maybe I shall start seeing somebody just to see if this is true. And, you know, what I found out is I wasn’t angry.”

You can watch the full episode of Red Table Talk here.

There are several cities leading the way in drug advocacy initiatives throughout the U.S. that provide resources to individuals struggling with addiction, including detox programs and rehab centers. MADAMENOIRE has constructed a running list of resources that could be helpful to you or a loved one struggling to combat addiction. See the full list here.


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