Willow Smith Says the Black Community "Shunned" Her and Jayden
Willow Smith opened up about not fitting into the Black community when she sat down on Red Table Talk with her mother and grandmother. During the chat, Willow described feeling like she and her brother, Jayden, were "shunned" because their personal style, expressive attitudes, and daring choices didn't fit into what many people saw as the typical framework of Black culture.
"Specifically with the African American community, I felt like me and Jaden were shunned a little bit. Like, 'We're not going to take pride in them because they're too different, they're too weird,'" Willow said.
"Even some of our family members, I would feel they thought we're too different."
Jada Pinkett Smith noted that she always had to remind herself that she was raising her children under special, very specific circumstances, and she didn't expect to the constantly shamed because people believed she wasn't raising her children properly.
"The thing that I had to consider was that they weren't raised typically and I think for, especially our community, it was something new," Jada added.
"Did people shame me, through you?" Jada asked Willow.
"100 percent. Oh my god. I would be at places or events and people would say things," Willow said.
Jada went on to explain that she was shamed more for what Jaden did and wore than anything with Willow, even when she shaved her head in 2012. Jaden famously wore a skirt and carried his dreadlocks as an accessory to the Met Gala.
"I got shamed a lot for Willow, but [with] Jaden that was hardcore," she added.
"You think people shamed you more for Jaden than for me?" Willow asked.
"I think as Jaden got older, you know when he did the Louis Vuitton thing and he was wearing a skirt, you know? And then he isn’t what people consider your typical Black man, which is like what is that supposed to be?" Jada explained.
"Is he supposed to be sagging to his knees?" Willow asked.
The mother and daughter duo went on to say that stereotypes exist within the Black community and the Smith children weren't fitting into those typical molds. Jada went on to say that many mom-shamers believed she was doing her children a "disservice" by allowing them to stray so far from expectations. She didn't try to reign them in, however, saying that she knew that fostering their self-confidence was more important than falling in line.
"Even in the community, we create stereotypes around ourselves and it's something that we, as a community, really have to learn how to let go of. I know that people felt like it's dangerous ... You know what it's like to be a Black or Brown person in this world. You are doing your kids a disservice," Jada continued. "I understood where that fear came from, but I also understood, from having been on the streets and having had not been your conventional Black girl in the streets of Baltimore, I knew that self-confidence is what helped me survive."