Jada Pinkett Smith recently opened up about her experiences getting "picked on for being light-skinned" when she was younger during a discussion about colorism on Red Table Talk. Jada, along with her daughter, Willow Smith, mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, best friend, Mia Pitts, and her own daughter, Madison, discussed the topic of colorism, which is defined as discrimination or prejudice based on skin tone from members of the same race, during a pre-taped episode of the Facebook Watch show that aired on Wednesday (May 27th). Before the conversation begins, Jada explains that colorism "began during slavery," when owners would often "rape their slaves who gave birth to light-skinned children." These children, she explains, "were given preferential treatment."
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"Lighter meant better, smarter and more beautiful," Jada continued. "This hateful bias seeped into black culture and continues to divide us." Jada then declares that they’re going to "confront our own preconceived prejudices right here at the table." During the discussion, Jada confesses that, although colorism is defined as light-skinned folks discriminating against dark-skinned folks, she experienced the reverse. “I had the opposite in my experience," she noted, "being picked on for being light-skinned."
As for Willow, she divulges her own struggles with accepting her hair type. “My cousins and my friends, I would look at their hair and be like, ‘I would be so much prettier if my hair wasn’t so kinky or if I had longer hair,’" she confessed.
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Later, Adrienne explains how this partiality to light skin relates to a favoured approximation to whiteness. “Back in the day, you would always hear black people like, ‘I got Indian in me,’ still not owning our own blackness and that’s just a result of all the brainwashing that has happened over the years and the perpetuation of white supremacy,” she notes. “The approximation to white is what’s valued around the world…back in the day, if you were light-skinned and long hair, you would get bank for no reason. Just think about how superficial that is.” Watch the full episode of Red Table Talk below: