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.
.@jadapsmith just gave Will’s ex-wife @ShereeFletcher an early Mother’s Day gift! I love their relationship ❤️… https://t.co/r4tf3BSXqK— xoNecole (@xoNecole)1525380947.0
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