Jada Pinkett Smith's Co-Mothering Conversation With Will Smith's Ex-Wife Was Powerful

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith released a new series today (May 7) that she hopes will inspire families to be vulnerable and forthcoming with each other. Red Table Talk, which lives on Facebook Watch, features Sheree Fletcher (husband Will's ex-wife) as its first guest.

Through their conversation, Jada and Sheree reveal their personal struggles, with plans to encourage women to harmonize for the benefit of their children.

Last week, xoNecole had the chance to celebrate the launch of the new series at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood with Jada and her mother, Adrienne.

Journalist Jaleesa Lashay pictured with Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-JonesxoNecole

While the family has managed to build a healthy blended relationship, with Jada and Will serving as everyone's #relationshipgoals, Jada explained that it wasn't always that easy:

"Sheree and I started a blended family, before it was even a popular idea. We didn't have a blueprint and we had both come from broken families."

Jada was in her early 20s when she first met Sheree, who at the time was going through a divorce with Will and raising their son Trey, all while struggling with her own healing process.

"I remember when Jada came into the picture, and I was in the process of dealing with the breakup. It was a lot. In retrospect, we'd all probably make different choices."

Throughout their struggle, Jada and Sheree still managed to come together. A testimony that will hopefully resonate with women in similar situations. There's an abundance to be learned from these women and their maturity and ability to focus on the true priority - the children.

During our interview with Sheree, she mentioned that Jada loved Trey from the beginning. She even recalled the moment, when Trey and Jada first met:

"I remember Will said to me, 'I'm going to introduce him (Trey) to Jada this weekend.' When he came home, I asked him, 'So you met Ms. Jada? What did you think?' He said, 'Mommy. I really like her. I want to buy her a present.' And that didn't make me sad or jealous. That was music to my ears. So, we got her a gift. I wrapped it beautifully, and I put a card in there from myself. It simply said, 'Thank you for making a great impression on my son. Love, Sheree.' And that was our first interaction as blended. It was of gratitude."

It is that same gratitude and love that Jada desires for women throughout the world to unite and find. In fact, while the two have managed to maintain a healthy blended family for the past 22 years, Jada said their Red Table Talk conversation was necessary because it was the first time they both opened up to discuss the past.

"That conversation between us really brought deep healing, in regards to a lot of things that have transpired and brought us closer. We're hoping that people can feel like they can have their own red tables. The red table is a place where we can let it go and just be – our most vulnerable truthful selves."

Realistically, everyone's situation is different. However, as someone who comes from a blended family, I know that it is possible to build a healthy friendship when women are able to separate their ego from their purpose. I will never forget, at 16 years old, when my bonus mother and mom both joined me in the restroom at my sweet sixteen to help me change into my second dress. It was a moment of love and respect, that I understood even at sixteen.

In a 2013 post to social media, Jada alluded to just how difficult the beginning of their 22-year relationship was. Furthermore, she also emphasized that blended families are never easy and that take work, but for the sake of the well-being of the children involved, it's work that's always worth it. Always.

"Blended families are NEVER easy, but here's why I don't have a lot of sympathy for your situation because, we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package…Period! If I didn't want that, I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey, I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him: his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other, but we have learned to LOVE each other."
"I can't support any actions that keep a man from his children of a previous marriage. These are the situations that separate the women from the girls. We can't say we love our man and then come in between him and his children. THAT'S selfishness…NOT love. WOMAN UP… I've been there…I know. My blended family made me a giant. Taught me so much about love, commitment, and it has been the biggest ego death to date. It's time you let your blended family make you the giant you truly are."

When women are able to put their differences aside, it makes a greater impact on children because it shows us what love is really about.

Love is not about ego. Love is not about insecurity.

It's about unconditional love and understanding. Jada and Sheree understand that. Sheree shared:

"It wasn't about me. It wasn't about her. She didn't need me to like her. That's ego and insecurity. I didn't need her to like me. I didn't need her to validate me. It wasn't about that, so we came in as women who kind of had a sense of self."

As we celebrated the launch in West Hollywood, I observed the undeniable way Jada and Sheree interacted with love. Jada walked in and acknowledged Sheree first, while gifting her with an early Mother's Day present – a Cartier necklace. Sheree showed her support, while expressing continuous gratitude for the relationship Jada has with her son.

And while many people would have their fear about releasing this episode, Jada and Sheree had no hesitation. Jada explained that she "wanted people to have an inside of our life, but with integrity," while Sheree felt comfortable because of their history:

"We have 22 years [of] history, so I trust this woman. I know her heart. I know what she's about. So, when she asks, I'm like, 'Let's do it.' We were two women, imperfect women who just were willing to try to make the situation work. And we love our kids and wanted to put them first. If we can do it, they can do it. Y'all can do it."

While we can't force women to put their feelings aside for their families and children, we can only hope that stories like ours of healthy blended families will inspire and spark new images of what families can be. 2018 is the year of women empowerment, and we hope that translates not only across friends and family, but also with ex-wives and baby mothers.

Red Table Talk, the weekly 10-episode series, is hosted by three generations of women at the Smith home. The show will feature several celebrity guests, including Tiffany Haddish and Gabrielle Union. Make sure to tune into the first episode featuring Sheree Fletcher on Facebook Watch now by clicking here or watching the episode down below.

Featured image via Red Table Talk still

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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