Jada Smith and her mom drop emotional bombshells on Willow, 11. Unfair?


AOL and the Huffington Post are premiering a new Internet video series on called “Red Table Talks.” The first video will air on Mother’s Day and features Jada Pinkett Smith, 40, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and Jada’s daughter, 11 year-old music star Willow Smith. It’s being billed as a kind of inter-generational women’s discussion fostering family communication, and the promo videos feature heavy-handed music and some segments that suggest that painful secrets are revealed. In one part Willow is shown breaking down crying. One of the promo videos (above) shows Jada’s very young-looking mom, Adrienne, admitting to her granddaughter that she was a bad mother. In another video (below), Adrienne admits she was addicted to drugs until her daughter Jada was in her late teens. I wonder if this is the first time Willow’s grandmother has told her that, and if it’s at all fair to this little girl to drop such a bombshell and then tape and publicly air her reaction. Here’s more, from Huffington Post, including what Willow says about how she doesn’t want to be famous. I know a lot of people say this child is spoiled, and she may be, but this is all she knows. She has had a stylist since the age of 9 and is regularly seen on the red carpet with her family. They’ve encouraged her music career – as a tween. The fact that they’re featuring her in this new video series kind of brings it home to me that they’re treating her like an adult before she’s ready.

n celebration of Mother’s Day on May 13, Jada Pinkett-Smith discusses motherhood, quality time and life in the limelight with her daughter, Willow Smith, and mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, in an upcoming video discussion, “Red Table Talk”.

During the candid discussion, the 40-year-old actress questioned Willow’s career interests and asked her whether or not she would change anything about her life.

“If I had to change one thing about my life, it would probably be, I wouldn’t be famous,” the 11-year-old singer admitted. “Because when you’re famous it’s so hard. Let’s say if a regular girl is going to the book store, it’s ten times harder to go everywhere [when you're famous]. But some people are like, ‘Oh, it’s so easy,’ and I’m like, ‘As fast as you can get there, it’s going to take me ten more minutes to get there.’ Because I have to call security.”

Echoing her daughter, Pinkett-Smith said that security has been a “real issue” for Willow and asked her for tips on how to make her lifestyle more seamless.

But the actress acknowledged that fame has its advantages, too.

“It’s not like I can’t reverse being famous,” she added. “Sometimes I don’t want to be, but then sometimes I do because when there’s a problem in the world, more people will listen to me… it’s kind of like helping people and if I’m not, then I can’t help people as much as I would if I was famous.”

The former “HawthoRNe” star says she hopes to advance the conversation into a series of ongoing discussions.

“My belief is that communication is the best way to create strong relationships,” she asserts in the series trailer. “Just for people to be able to sit down together and have a conversation, that’s the power of love. Love is what sometimes holds us and binds us when we’re not so happy. If we concentrate on how much we can love one another, we can get through all the other stuff.”

[From Huffington Post]

Maybe I’m too old school, and I’ll admit to nearly being Jada’s age. This is too much family drama for me to be comfortable airing in public, and I actually don’t think it’s fair to Willow. Mother daughter issues run deep, and they do get passed down through the generations. I get how it’s very positive for this family to admit that they have problems and to talk about them. I understand how they feel they’re helping others by encouraging communication. This is the type of celebrity openness that Oprah helped foster, and it’s the norm now. Willow is just 11 years old, though, she’s not even a teenager yet. She’s barely able to understand these things about her family and yet they’re sharing them with her and videotaping her reaction. Sure she’s a little pop star, but she says here that she doesn’t want to be famous, and that she wants a normal life. Part of that would involve making sure these type of family discussions stay behind closed doors. I just feel protective of her, because it seems like her family is thrusting her into the spotlight before she’s emotionally ready.

Here’s the video where Willow says she doesn’t want to be famous and Adrienne admits she was addicted to drugs until Jada was 17 or 18. Willow is shown crying around :57.

 

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87 Responses to “Jada Smith and her mom drop emotional bombshells on Willow, 11. Unfair?”

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  1. Bite me aka aniston says:

    Jada used to have problems with drugs and alcohol before she got with Will

  2. RocketMerry says:

    “The fact that they’re featuring her in this new video series kind of brings it home to me that they’re treating her like an adult before she’s ready.”

    And that is one of the reasons I kinda believe that they might be into Scientology.
    I understand the temptation to let their kids have and do things they never could at their age, but there is a limit and I think the Co$ only encourages parents to cross it.

  3. mommaq says:

    It’s unfair to saddle a little girl with all of that dirty laundry, then exploit her emotions….it feels like psychological abuse almost.

    What was the point in Will and Jada working so hard to give the kids a good life then dumping this in her lap?

    • qwerty says:

      Who says they were workign hard for their kids?

      Btw it’s so nice of Jada to keep herself in the spotlight TO HELP PEOPLE! And all this time I thought she was just a narcissist famewhore!

      • Kat says:

        I think it’s great that they are talking to Willow about substance abuse in the family…It runs heavily in my family as well and when I have kids I plan to sit them down and explain to them that they will have to be very careful – it will be even more risky for them.
        But to do this ON CAMERA and airing it? Beyond absurd, and I think very harmful for the kid.

  4. lucy2 says:

    OMG.
    If adults want to share this stuff publicly, that’s bad enough, but to force an 11 year old to do that? To have family issues aired on TV? What is wrong with these people!?!?!?

    “If I had to change one thing about my life, it would probably be, I wouldn’t be famous.”
    Oh that poor kid. I now genuinely feel sorry for her, she has no chance at any kind of normalcy or deciding what she wants out of life. Let’s just hope she doesn’t go full Lohan.

    • Happymom says:

      Exactly. This is so wrong on so many levels. Ugh. I never thought much of Will and Jada’s pushing their children into show business at such a young age-but this is beyond the pale.

    • mln76 says:

      Sadly I think she will go ‘full Lohan’ because she seems to already be acting out. And yes they are Scienos they are just much better at hiding because they saw the backlash that Tom and John T faced. Child abuse through making them adults way too soon gross!

    • Samigirl says:

      I agree with you ladies. I am adopted, and my dad never would tell me why my bio mom wasn’t my mom anymore. He only responded with, “she loved you very much, but wasn’t able to take care of you.” When I was 18 and a legal adult, he sat me down and told me she was a heroin addicted prostitute. I can’t imagine trying to wrap my brain around that at the age of 11!

      • Jill says:

        Your dad sounds awesome!

        My uncles are all adopted (I know that’s not remotely the same as being adopted myself) and I don’t ever remember being told they were, I just always knew (so I must have been pretty young). One of them had an alcoholic mother and a mafioso (sp?) father who didn’t even know my uncle existed. Anyway, my grandparents basically always told them the same thing as your dad told you. It was still a rough adjustment years later when they heard the true story of their parents, but they were better equipped to deal with it by then.

        Children need to be emotionally protected. At (almost) any cost.

        I feel realy sorry for Willow. She seems like a typical, fragile girl who needs someone with some sense to protect her.

    • autumndaze says:

      This is another example of ongoing emotional abuse and exploitation of their young kids.
      So wrong.
      No wonder the youth of celebrities are so messed up.

    • Carolyn says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. This sounds and looks like an awful show. Don’t these “celebrities” realise the general public arent THAT interested in hearing their personal thoughts and personal histories in minute detail? Makes me dislike Will & Jada even more. Bad parents. No MIB 3 for me. I’m boycotting everything they do, on prinicple.

  5. Eleonor says:

    They are scientologists too, isn’t part of their belief assuming that a child is an adult too?
    Edit:
    I am not justifing them, this is so cruel.

  6. Katren says:

    WTF! this is seriously effed up, no 11 year old should get saddled with that shit – and on tv no less.

    will and jada are fucking idiots

  7. Erin says:

    I dunno if it’s too much. I was much younger than that when I was made aware of my family having big issues with drugs and alcohol and it really helped me to know that and steer clear of those things. Guess it depends on the kid.

  8. A Girl Named Mikki says:

    Well I don’t know. It depends on how you look at it. I’m old-school too, but I’ll also admit that the work the “O” has done has moved humanity towards healing and authenticity in leaps in bounds.

    Remember, childhood sexual abuse was taboo before Oprah made it safe to bring to the forefront and so many people have healed from it; even the abusers themselves.

    I guess as with any new development in society, there can be elements of pro- or retrogression to it…again depending upon the mindset. I would however agree that when children are involved, things like this should be weighed with a lot more prudence and gravity.

    • Katren says:

      What does this have to do with oprah or kids being molested? This is an 11 year old girl talking about how she doesn’t like being famous and being told about her grandmother being a drug addict. Then having it filmed for the whole world to see. All of her friends, everyone she sees will know about this and will have seen her break down over this and its not fair to put a kid through that.

    • autumndaze says:

      You give Oprah WAY too much credit…

      • A Girl Named Mikki says:

        Well, reading comprehension skills discerned that CB asserted that this type of celebrity “openess” is something Oprah helped to foster. I was merely pointing out the ‘positive’ of what O’s work has helped created.

        And speaking as someone who now thrives in spite of childhood abuse, I remember how in the closet it was until Oprah’s show profiled it extensively. I know it forced a lot of discussions in black communities…

  9. Sloane Wyatt says:

    This is SO WRONG. Willow is treated like a miniature adult, per the CO$ teachings, and not allowed to be a regular, private child. Even more disheartening is the fact this little girl is being exploited by her parents.

    These “Red Table” talks seem to me to be an introductory softening up technique that makes CO$ look warm and snuggley. Next up, come on down for your complimentary Personality Test.

    The whole thing creeps me out. Keep your children private and safe, and why not pull Willow out of the Family Business if she doesn’t want to be famous anymore? Even the Osbournes let their children decide if they wanted to be filmed because one child opted out of TV, and no one knows what she looks like! Don’t parade her on the red carpet anymore. That would go a long way to honoring her heartfelt plea.

  10. Agnes says:

    holy crap, this is a lot for a 11-year old kid to deal with. ugh!

  11. Kola says:

    Ok, Jada’s mother looks good!I mean, she looks so young!

  12. Bubbling says:

    I co-sign everything CB wrote

  13. Br says:

    This is just so mean. She is just a child. Parents are meant to protect their children, this poor child.

  14. spinner says:

    I won’t be watching. This is child abuse.

  15. Leticia says:

    Willow’s got no hair to whip around at the haters.

  16. mln76 says:

    If I had to change one thing about my life, it would probably be, I wouldn’t be famous,…..Because when you’re famous it’s so hard.”

    That makes really sad. Willow is saying pretty clearly she doesn’t want to be out there it’s up to her parents to protect her so sad they are to egomaniacal and famehungry to actually care about her needs.
    And there is no need to do this therapy session in public SHAME on Oprah for allowing this to be on her dumb channel.

    • Minty says:

      Ummm, did you read the whole article?

      AOL and the Huffington Post are showing this video series, so don’t blame Oprah.

      Will and Jada are such shameless famewhores. Pimping out their kids for more money/attention/publicity. God help Willow.

      • sluggo says:

        This. And on a side note, seems to lend credence to all the rumors about Will/Jada’s marriage. Before, they were all upfront in everyone’s face “OMG LOOKIT ALL THE SEX WE HAVE WE LOOOOOOVE EACH OTHER.” Now the spotlight isn’t on their sex life; it’s on their children. And it doesn’t seem to matter very much to this famewhore couple whether or not their children might suffer at any point. Nope, gotta keep that spotlight going.

        Also agree with all the comments about the C0$ connection, except for the fact that any skeletons in the closet are usually not aired … they’re saved up for later, then used as weapons/blackmail.

  17. Cindy says:

    Exploitative, no matter how much girl power psychobabble she wraps it in.

  18. Meanchick says:

    I don’t think this should have happened on camera. Willow’s face shows the discomfort. She doesn’t want to be there. Please tell me this show is not another Jada Smith creation. I don’t think they are Scientologists. They have a lot of celeb couple friends who are, but I don’t think they are.
    It broke my heart when she said she didn’t want to be famous. She will rebel soon. Last thing, whatever Jada installed in those cheekbones, take it out! It looks bad.

  19. Lisa says:

    Looks to me like Adrienne is *still* a bad mother and that Jada is one, too … Poor kid.

  20. Rhiley says:

    This is the weirdest most contrived shizz I have ever seen in my life.

  21. foozy says:

    i guess it all depends on how mature willow is. perhaps she already has an understanding of a lot of these issues…

  22. Marybel says:

    Exploitation of children for ratings/popularity? They are even smiling while the child cries. Add that to the constant rumors that the Smiths are co-beards. Those women are witches.

  23. danielle says:

    That is sick. I didn’t watch the video – just the description and looking at the picture of those two women smiling while the child cries was enough. That is emotional abuse NO DOUBT. I’ve always been a fan of Will Smith but if he can’t the pimping out of his child….

  24. anon33 says:

    This is not good.

    I found out by accident when I was 11/12 that my dad had been cheating on my mom. I asked my mom about it, we had an “open and honest discussion” about it, my parents worked through it and stayed together, and that was it.

    But damn if that didn’t WRECK my mind for years and give me very messed up ideas about relationships. In hindsight I think it would have been better for me to find out later when I had the emotional capability to better understand it. I think the same thing is at play here. Poor Willow. That has to be awful for her.

  25. poppy says:

    not the time nor the place, grandma.
    willow can always change her mind about being famous but she can never change how f%cked up her family is.
    if you can afford any life style in the world why not afford your child the privilege of being sheltered; of remaining a child until they are actually an adult?

  26. I Choose Me says:

    Oh God. My heart goes out to Willow. Her tears and vulnerability should NOT be exploited and filmed like this. She looked sooo uncomfortable in that vid.

    Why do I feel like that Jada is trying to live vicariously through her child? Just ugh! to this whole thing.

  27. jesstar says:

    I feel very sorry for this child.

    To feel trapped in your own life at such a young age has got to be horrible

  28. poor girl says:

    Oh, man.

    Jada is basically saying to her daughter that she won’t be able to speak to an audience anymore if she drops her pop fame. No need to study anything or become and expert on any field, because what’s the use? The only way to reach people is through pop culture. That is just sad.

  29. Hayley says:

    That hairstyle makes Willow look like a cancer patient. They should let her be a child. Shame on the Smiths if they are letting Scientology warp their kids’ childhoods.

  30. skuddles says:

    What a weird, weird family

  31. Kim says:

    I live in L.A. and VERY few people would recognize Willow (if she wasnt with her parents) let alone bother her. As if she would have to call security-plleeaasse!

    What an ego this little girl has on her!

    • polk8dot says:

      I feel you are being unjustifiably harsh on the little girl.
      She is not the one with the narcissistic ego. It’s her parents. She just doesn’t know any better. I bet it is inbred into her that she is always in danger of being kidnapped, attacked, chased by papps etc. I bet that from the earliest memory she has she always associated her life, her wants, her desires, with having her parents say ‘you can’t because we are soooo famous’. And since adults are sometimes too lazy to do proper parenting, it is quite possible they used this excuse on things that did not necessitate such response, but the response was simply convenient for them.
      That’s why it is simply in Willow’s blood to call security (as in a bodyguard, I’m sure) whenever she wants to step out and do anything. That’s why, without her own fame hitting the roof yet, she already knows and fears all the limitations that come with it.
      I think her a-hole parents never let her be a child, always treated her as a prop, and she thinks this is the way real life is. That everything that goes wrong is the fame’s fault.

      My wish for her would be to emancipate herself at 15, get a state-assigned legal and financial guardian, let her hair grow and start dressing like a normal kid, not the way her parents are dressing her (it is sooo obviously another contrivance, via stylists etc, to make the kids ‘special’), and move away from Hollywood.
      It can be done, especially if your parents are rich; thru emancipation you can also ensure some kind of trust fund or other financial support.
      As long as she stays within this nut house, she’s got no chance not only at normal childhood, but at normal life period.

    • jaye says:

      That’s harsh. She’s grown up in the spotlight, so that’s her experience. She’s got paps following her and folks in the media reviewing and dissecting her clothes, hair, her every move. She’s not being an egomaniac, it’s her reality.

      • blouson says:

        I was in a diplomatic family posted to South America and we were constantly having to consider security issues. We weren’t “stars” or narcassistic…just read the riot act by an embassy anda family that did not want a kidnapping. So I cut her some slack on this.

    • Hakura says:

      I see everyone has chewed you out already, but had to add my 2cents. As the daughter of *2* celebrities, she’s grown up surrounded by security. It makes sense that she would feel most comfortable surrounded by them, especially out doing all the ‘solo’ careers.

  32. Laura says:

    Disgraceful filming a child cry for ratings. For Oprah’s ratings no less. Yep she’s done wonders hasn’t sge. Nevermind the hundreds of thousands of psychologists, counsellors, doctors, and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help people through their own passion, not for ratings or recognition. Those are the people who have changed attitudes and they deserve more kudos than can be given.

  33. stephanie says:

    what is this? what is wrong with people? who wants to see this, or air this laundry on tv?

  34. ladybert62 says:

    The mother and grandmother are selling out the granddaughter for the sake of publicity – it is unfair to that child who is going through a lot this year with the breakup of the will smith family. They should not have done this to her.

  35. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    There is nothing with these issues being discussed with the kids. My family discussed everything.

    IN PRIVATE! If Jada and mom wanted to talk about their private woes in public, leave the girl out of it.

    Poor Willow. Another Moanarch programmed child.

  36. Asha says:

    Child pimping, again. She doesn’t want to be famous, yet their parents push her to be a singer already. She’s still a kid and they have an important family discussion so it can be aired. I don’t care how they call it, this is reality TV. There’s no difference between this and the Kardashians programme.

    I didn’t care much about the Smith’s before. Now I know they’re just liek Billy Ray Cyrus.

  37. daisyfly says:

    They’re scientologists. There is no psychological repercussions with what they’re doing because they don’t believe in it which means this child is going to suffer more than we can ever imagine.

  38. amanda says:

    My mom confided a number of things to me when I was 15, and looking back on that, I really wish she hadn’t. Knowing those things, especially without being able to understand them with an adult’s knowledge base and emotional capacity, did not help me later in life. I suffered from depression and a lot of anger due to that “open communication”. Kids can’t understand everything that adults do. They just don’t have the life experience or the emotional comprehension yet. This kid is only 11! She doesn’t know her ass from her elbow. I hope her parents aren’t surprised when, in 5 years, she starts acting out.

    • Hakura says:

      I can relate to this. Our living situation was bad in a way I can’t even explain. Mom was suffering a huge depression, fought with dad every day.

      I became her confidant, because she had isolated herself so much… That she didn’t have any friends. She & *I* became best friends, even if shouldering half her load was still too heavy for my 12 year old shoulders.

  39. Beatriz says:

    In all seriousness what the f happened to Jada? I remember her in the 90′ties, she seemed so awesome, but now she’s just like any other fame whore, willing to pimp out her own kid just for the sake of staying relevant.

  40. emma says:

    One thing that struck me was the way Willow kept looking up at her mother, with such love in her eyes, but a little bit of intimidation. I wonder if all of this is just to impress her & make her appreciate her daughter.
    I agree that it seems way too personal to air.

  41. Ramona Q says:

    When I was 11, I loved to climb the big tree in my backyard with a Babysitters Club book and stay up there all afternoon. I can’t imagine being a famous pop star at that age. Poor Willow. She is still a small child. Her parents should have kept the camera off her. Protect her and let her be a kid!

  42. Skinnybetch says:

    They are such a bizarre family. And scientology will only make them more out of touch with reality. Why would you do this to an 11 year old girl and then broadcast it on tv?

  43. Miss Lafleur says:

    At least they didn’t tell her the truth…that her dad is gay.

  44. normades says:

    Wrong on every level. Poor Willow.

  45. heidiho says:

    Not right to do this to a little girl.

  46. It is ME!! says:

    I believe in not sheltering a child: one should discuss adult things with children on a level that they can understand (and you don’t even have to go into every freakin’ detail). So her grandmother explaining that she wasn’t a very good mom can be a learning moment for Willow. Her grandmother can say that she made mistakes, and that Willow shouldn’t make those mistakes. That way, if Willow reacts like she did, the grandmother can reassure her of how much she loves the mother and granddaughter, etc, etc…

    Taping it? F*&k NO!!

  47. Hakura says:

    I can’t believe it! Seems like everyone actually agrees on something!! Obviously the apocalypse draw near….

    But yeah. I used to think Willow (I almost typed ‘Brillo’, as in ‘Brillo pads’ -_-) had an arrogant over-self confident attitude… A little brat.

    But this has changed that. She doesn’t want any of this fame nonsense. I’m almost positive that she’s been ‘coached’ since before she could even talk to be the way she currently is.

    That was hard enough on the girl, but this? This is way too much. The poor kid. I can actually see her going Lohan, Britney, OR Christina in the future. What a future that will be.

    Edit- Just a note, but… What is Willow going to think regarding motherhood in her family, now? Grandmother admit she was a bad mother, Jada doesn’t HAVE to admit it… It could even scare the kid into thinking there’s no way SHE could be a good mother.

  48. connie says:

    THIS! Someone posted a link (recommendation I dont remember) to the lipstick alley blog & after some exhaustive reading I think very differetly of people who grew up in the industry & then subsequently allow their children to the same. Hweird is a seedy place and it takes a certain kind of person to reach that level of power & success. While I think some of the posters over on LSA were a little over-the-top and some quite hung up on conspircacy theories alot of it rang true. Willow and her brothers twitters have had some posts which would make one assume things arent all rosey.

    On another note, over at LSA someone made a comment about how gay jews run hollywood ala John Travolta. I totally buy it. I honestly believe people with unlimited resources, power, money & values are capable of things that would turn us “regular peoples” stomachs

  49. kj says:

    I loved it and watching it made me understand why Willow is allowed to express herself. The bottom line for me is we r a product of our environment so as parents we can either do to our kids what was done to us or do something different. But in order to do something different u have to know something different. As a parent I notice that kids of today r more knowledgeable of life than I was as a kid and I’m finding myself speaking to my kids about things that I feel they r not ready for but in today’s society I better tell them or they will get it n the streets and I do not want that. As for her not wanting to b famous ask yourself how would u feel if u couldn’t do normal things as a regular kid. U cant go to playground and play with regular kids or go to amusement park without being hounded. Having celebrity parents is probably very hard and the world talked about Michael Jackson when he made his kids wear mask. He wasn’t crazy he just wanted his kids to b able to go outside and try to b normal. Well I applaud Jada and her mother and if more families shared with their kids they probably wouldn’t turn to the streets. Ask yourself how often do u take time out of ur busy day and talk to ur kids.

  50. anonymous51 says:

    Jada’s face is a prime example that some people with money are insecure,mixed up individuals with way too much money in their pockets. I’m sure that God won’t recognize her on judgement day because she messed with her face and totally changed what he created. Jada was a beautiful women and God made her perfect but she had to go and get implants in her cheeks, Why? She was one woman that didnt need to change a thing, but her insecurity led her to destroy her face. Now, she looks like a puffed up mess. Will must really love her to continue with the pretense they now call their marriage. When she gets old her face will sag, because her skin will not be able to hold it up. Unless she has more plastic surgery, which will be disasterous.