Willow and Jaden Smith have long been loved for letting their freak flags fly, but now the younger sister is opening up about the colder receptions they’ve received on their journeys into adulthood.
On this week’s episode of Red Table Talk, Willow joins her mom Jada Pinkett Smith and grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris to discuss the explosion of mom-shaming during the pandemic. Jada opens with an anecdote about the criticism she caught for letting Willow shave her head as an adolescent.
The story opened the doors for Willow to talk about backlash coming from within her own community.
“Specifically with the African American community, I kind of felt like me and Jaden were like, shunned a little bit,” said Willow. “They were like, ‘We’re not gonna take pride in them because they’re too different. They’re too weird.'”
Jada adds that her son Jaden’s unconventional style was another popular target for “hardcore” criticism.
“I think as Jaden got older, and he did the Louis Vuitton and he was wearing a skirt,” said the elder Smith. “And then he isn’t what people consider your typical Black man, which is…what is that supposed to mean?”
But judging by the children’s poise and confidence, mom remains unrattled by the haters. She encourages fellow parents to let their kids express themselves without limits.
“There are different ways [of raising your kids] that can be successful,” she says. “…We create stereotypes around ourselves, and it’s something that we as a community really have to learn how to let go of.”