Jada Pinkett Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jada Pinkett Smith
Pinkett Smith in 2001
BornJada Koren Pinkett
(1971-09-18) September 18, 1971 (age 43)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Other namesJada Koren (with Wicked Wisdom)
OccupationActress, singer-songwriter, businesswoman
Years active1990–present (actress)
2002–present (singer)
Spouse(s)Will Smith (m. 1997)
ChildrenJaden Smith
Willow Smith
Jump to: navigation, search
Jada Pinkett Smith
Pinkett Smith in 2001
BornJada Koren Pinkett
(1971-09-18) September 18, 1971 (age 43)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Other namesJada Koren (with Wicked Wisdom)
OccupationActress, singer-songwriter, businesswoman
Years active1990–present (actress)
2002–present (singer)
Spouse(s)Will Smith (m. 1997)
ChildrenJaden Smith
Willow Smith

Jada Koren Pinkett Smith (/ˌdə ˌpɪŋkɨt ˈsmɪθ/; born Jada Koren Pinkett; September 18, 1971)[1] is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman. She began her career in 1990, when she made a guest appearance in the short-lived sitcom True Colors. She starred in A Different World, produced by Bill Cosby, and she featured opposite Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (1996). She starred in dramatic films such as Menace II Society (1993) and Set It Off (1996). She has appeared in more than 20 films in a variety of genres, including Scream 2, Ali, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

Pinkett Smith launched her music career in 2002, when she helped create the metal band Wicked Wisdom, for which she is a singer and songwriter. Smith also created a production company, in addition to authoring a book, published in 2004.

In 1997, she married rapper and actor Will Smith. They have two children, Jaden and Willow, and Pinkett Smith is stepmother to Willard "Trey" Smith III, Will's son from a previous marriage. The couple founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, a charity organization which focuses on inner-city youth and family support and has worked with non-profit organizations like YouthBuild and the Lupus Foundation of America.

Family and early life[edit]

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Jada Koren Pinkett was named after her mother's favorite soap-opera actress, Jada Rowland.[2] Pinkett-Smith is of African-American, West Indian (from Jamaica and Barbados),[3] Creole, and Portuguese-Jewish ancestry.[4][5] Her parents are Adrienne Banfield-Jones, the head nurse of an inner-city clinic in Baltimore, and Robsol Pinkett, Jr., who ran a construction company. Banfield-Jones became pregnant in high school; the couple married but divorced after several months.[6] Banfield-Jones raised Pinkett with the help of her own mother, Marion Martin Banfield, a social worker.[7] Banfield noticed her granddaughter's passion for the performing arts and enrolled her in piano, tap dance, and ballet lessons.[8] She has a younger brother, actor/writer Caleeb Pinkett.

[My mother] understood what I wanted and never stood in my way.

—Pinkett Smith[9]

Pinkett Smith has remained close to her mother and said, "A mother and daughter's relationship is usually the most honest, and we are so close." She participated as the maid of honor in Banfield-Jones' 1998 wedding to telecommunications executive Paul Jones.[10] Pinkett Smith has shown great admiration for her grandmother, saying, "My grandmother was a doer who wanted to create a better community and add beauty to the world."[11]

Pinkett Smith attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where she met and became lifelong friends with classmate Tupac Shakur. She majored in dance and theatre and graduated in 1989.[12] She continued her education at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and became fully invested in pursuing her acting career. She ultimately moved to Los Angeles, California, where she quickly found success in show business.[7]

Acting career[edit]

Pinkett Smith moved to Los Angeles and stayed with LaVern Whitt, former stuntwoman, now producer and longtime family friend, who got her started in the industry. In Los Angeles, Pinkett Smith inquired about the choreographer position for the television series In Living Color, created by actor Keenan Ivory Wayans whom she met through LaVern but the job was already taken by Rosie Perez. LaVern helped her find an acting agent and got her started in the industry by introducing Pinkett Smith to many of her celebrity friends including Keenan.

She began her acting career in 1990, when she starred in an episode of True Colors. She then appeared in a television pilot for a supernatural drama titled Moe's World that was never aired. She received guest roles in television shows such as Doogie Howser, M.D. (1991) and 21 Jump Street (1991). She earned a role on comedian Bill Cosby's NBC television sitcom A Different World in 1991, as college freshman Lena James.[6]

In 1994, Pinkett Smith acted with Wayans in the action and comedy film A Low Down Dirty Shame. She described her character, Peaches, as "raw" with "major attitude",[13] and her acting garnered positive reviews. The New York Times noted, "Ms. Pinkett, whose performance is as sassy and sizzling as a Salt-n-Pepa recording, walks away with the movie."[14]

Mid-career (1996–2000)[edit]

Following a role in Demon Knight (1995), Pinkett Smith co-starred with actor and comedian Eddie Murphy in the 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor. The film earned $25 million in its first weekend and opened in 2,000 theaters.[15]

Next Pinkett Smith had a role in Set It Off (1996), a crime drama about four women who rob banks to escape from poverty. With Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise, her acting in the film was noted in the San Francisco Chronicle where they named her as "the one to watch".[16]

In 1997, Pinkett Smith had a cameo role in Scream 2 as Maureen Evans, a college student who is brutally murdered in front of hundreds of cinemagoers. The film made over $100 million at the US box office. In 2000, Pinkett Smith was cast in Spike Lee's film Bamboozled (2000), as Sloan Hopkins, a personal assistant to the main character portrayed by Damon Wayans. Although the film met with mediocre reviews, it won the Freedom of Expression Award by the National Board of Review.[17]

More established roles (2001–present)[edit]

Pinkett Smith at the 2014 NY PaleyFest for Gotham

Perhaps her best-known role to date is the part of human rebel Niobe in the films The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), and video game Enter The Matrix (2003) sequels to 1999's The Matrix. The character was eventually written, specifically, with Pinkett Smith in mind.[18] Directly after she filmed her scenes for Ali, Pinkett Smith flew to Australia to work on the Matrix sequels. The sequels earned over $91 million and $48 million during opening weekends, respectively.[19][20]

In 2008, Pinkett Smith portrayed Alex Fisher, a lesbian author, in The Women. Pinkett Smith's directorial debut was The Human Contract; she also wrote and acted in the movie. Starring Paz Vega and Idris Elba, it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008.[21] In January 2009, she started working on the TNT medical drama Hawthorne, in which she was executive producer and a starring cast member.[22] In September 2011, the show was cancelled by TNT, after three seasons. In spring 2012, Pinkett Smith launched a web series entitled Red Table Talks, with the first episode featuring her daughter and her mother, in order to encourage dialogue within families.[23] In 2014, she will star in the FOX's crime drama Gotham as the notorious gangster Fish Mooney.[24]

Musical career[edit]

I listened to all kinds of metal as a kid. Metallica, Guns N' Roses. I would always look at Axl Rose and say, "Why aren't there any chicks out there doing this now?" I always wanted an opportunity to get out there and rock out.

—Pinkett Smith on why she created Wicked Wisdom[25]

Under the stage name Jada Koren, Pinkett Smith formed the metal band Wicked Wisdom in 2002.[25] The band consists of Pinkett Smith performing lead vocals, Pocket Honore (guitar, vocals), Cameron "Wirm" Graves (guitar, keyboard, vocals), and Rio (bass, vocals). The band is managed by James Lassiter and Miguel Melendez of Overbrook Entertainment, a company co-founded by Pinkett Smith's husband Will Smith.[26]

The band's self-titled debut album was released on February 21, 2006, by Pinkett Smith's production company 100% Womon and Suburban Noize Records. Will Smith served as the project's executive producer.[27] The album made it to Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and peaked at number 44 during the week of March 11, 2006. AllMusic reviewer Alex Henderson said of the album, "[Pinkett Smith] shows herself to be an expressive, commanding singer" and that "[Wicked Wisdom] shows considerable promise".[28] The band promoted the album in 2006, touring with heavy metal band Sevendust.[29]

Onyx Hotel Tour[edit]

Wicked Wisdom landed a slot on Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004, one of the year's highest-profile tours. The band opened for Spears for eight dates in April and May 2004, during the European leg of the tour.[30]

Ozzfest 2005[edit]

In 2005, Sharon Osbourne went to see Wicked Wisdom perform at a small nightclub in Los Angeles. She said, "I was blown away. When you see and hear Jada with her band it's apparent that she has nothing but love and respect for this genre of music".[26] In May 2005 organizers announced Wicked Wisdom would perform on the second stage of 2005's Ozzfest.[31] Fans of the festival were outraged, claiming the band did not have the credibility to perform at the music festival. Aware of the questions about the band's addition to Ozzfest, Pinkett Smith said, "I'm not here asking for any favors. You've got to show and prove. And not every audience is going to go for it."[32] Wicked Wisdom's guitarist Pocket Honore said while early dates of the tour were rocky, "once word got out that we weren't a joke, people started coming out and by the sixth or seventh gig we were on fire".[25] Pinkett Smith agreed, saying, "After seven dates within the Ozzfest tour, the whole attitude of it started to turn around once the word of mouth started getting out."[29]

Personal life[edit]

Pinkett Smith with her husband and children at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Concert

Pinkett Smith met Will Smith in 1994 on the set of Smith's television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when she auditioned for the role of his character's girlfriend, Lisa Wilkes. She was considered too short and the role went to actress Nia Long. Pinkett and Smith became friends, however, and began dating in 1995. On December 31, 1997, about 100 guests attended their wedding at The Cloisters, near her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.[33] Regarding her marriage, Pinkett Smith said that they are "private people"[34] and told one interviewer, "I will throw my career away before I let it break up our marriage. I made it clear to Will. I'd throw it away completely".

Pinkett Smith and Smith have two children, Jaden Smith[33] (b. 1998),[35] Willow Smith[33] (b. 2000).[7] She also has a stepson from Smith's first marriage, Trey Smith.

Smith commented in 2008 on their parenting styles: "We're not strict but we definitely believe it's a very important component for rearing children. It creates safety for them. They understand that they need guidance."[36] Jaden and Willow are attending public school once again.[11] The family resides in a 27,000 square foot (2,500 m2) home, on 100 acres (40 ha), in Malibu.[9]

Business ventures[edit]

After opening her music company 100% Womon Productions,[22] Pinkett Smith created her own fashion label, Maja, in 1994. The clothing line features women's T-shirts and dresses embellished with the slogan "Sister Power", sold primarily through small catalogs.[8]

In 2003, Pinkett Smith and Smith helped to create the television series All of Us, which originally aired on UPN. Pinkett Smith published her first children's book, Girls Hold Up This World, in 2004. "I wrote the book for Willow and for her friends and for all the little girls in the world who need affirmation about being female in this pretty much masculine world. I really tried to capture different sides of femininity. I want girls in the world to feel powerful, to know they have the power to change the world in any way they wish."[37]

In 2005, Pinkett Smith became one of many celebrities to invest a combined total of $10 million in Carol's Daughter, a line of beauty products created by Lisa Price.[38] She became a spokesperson for the beauty line, and said, "To be a part of another African American woman's dream was just priceless to me."[39]

She also is part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers with her husband Will Smith and other partners.

Charity work and politics[edit]

Together with Smith, Pinkett Smith has created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, a charity which focuses on youth in urban inner cities and family support. Her aunt, Karen Banfield Evans, is the foundation's executive director. The charity was awarded the David Angell Humanitarian Award by The American Screenwriters Association (ASA) in 2006. The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation has provided grants to non-profit organizations such as YouthBuild,[40] and Pinkett Smith has made personal donations to organizations such as Capital K-9s.[41]

In December 2006, she donated $1 million to the Baltimore School for the Arts in memory of her friend Tupac.

When Pinkett Smith's aunt, Karen Banfield Evans, was diagnosed with lupus,[42] the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, in association with the Lupus Foundation of America and Maybelline, held the first annual "Butterflies Over Hollywood" event on September 29, 2007, at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. The event raised funds for LFA public and professional educational programs.[43] The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation was presented with an award in 2007 at the 4th Annual Lupus Foundation of America Awards.[44]

In 2012, on behalf of PETA, Pinkett Smith wrote a letter to Baltimore's mayor, asking that the visiting Ringling Brothers Circus "comply with Baltimore’s absolute prohibition of the use of devices such as bullhooks" and not harm the elephants.[45] In 2013, she appeared in a video clip for Gucci's "Chime for Change" campaign that aims to raise funds and awareness of women's issues globally.[46]

In 1997, Pinkett Smith was the emcee of the Million Woman March in Philadelphia.[47][48][49]


After meeting Tom Cruise during the filming of Collateral in 2004, Pinkett Smith and Smith donated $20,000 to the Hollywood Education and Literacy Program (HELP), Scientology's basis for homeschooling.[50] The couple came under fire in 2008 when they decided to fund New Village Leadership Academy, a private elementary school located in Calabasas, California. The school employs teachers dedicated to the Scientology religion and features methodologies like study technology, created by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The couple have denied claims that they are themselves Scientologists.


1993Menace II SocietyRonnie
1994The InkwellLauren Kelly
1994Jason's LyricLyric
1994A Low Down Dirty ShamePeaches
1995Demon KnightJeryline
1996The Nutty ProfessorCarla Purty
1996If These Walls Could TalkPattiMade for television movie
1996Set It OffLida "Stony" Newsome
1997Scream 2Maureen EvansCameo
1997Princess MononokeTokiVoice Actor
1998Blossoms and VeilsRavenShort film
1998Return to ParadiseM.J. Dc
1999Princess MononokeTokiVoice
English dub
2000BamboozledSloan Hopkins
2001Kingdom ComeCharisse Slocumb
2003The Matrix ReloadedNiobe
2003Enter The MatrixNiobeFull Motion Video video game, voice, and motion capture performance
2003The Matrix RevolutionsNiobe
2003Maniac MageeAmanda Beale
2004CollateralAnnie Farrell
2007Reign Over MeJaneane Johnson
2008The WomenAlex Fisher
2008Madagascar: Escape 2 AfricaGloriaVoice
2008The Human ContractRitaDebuted at Cannes Film Festival in May 2008.[21]
Written and directed by Pinkett Smith.
2009Merry MadagascarGloriaVoice
2012Madagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedGloriaVoice
2013Madly MadagascarGloriaVoice
2015Magic Mike XXLFilming
1990True ColorsBeverly1 episode
1990Moe's WorldNatalieTelevision movie
199121 Jump StreetNicole1 episode
1991Doogie Howser, M.DTrish Andrews1 episode
1991–1993A Different WorldLena James36 episodes
2009–2011HawthorneChristina HawthorneLead Role
2014-presentGothamFish MooneySeries regular

Awards and nominations[edit]

1997Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Motion PictureSet It OffWon
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-SeriesIf These Walls Could TalkWon
1998Blockbuster Entertainment AwardFavorite Supporting Actress – HorrorScream 2Won
2001Black Reel AwardTheatrical – Best ActressBamboozledWon
Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Motion PictureWon
2002Image AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureAliNominated
2003Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie Actress – Drama/Action AdventureThe Matrix ReloadedWon
2004Image AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureThe Matrix RevolutionsWon
2005BET Comedy AwardBest Performance in an Animated Theatrical FilmMadagascarWon
Black Reel AwardBest Supporting ActressCollateralWon
Image AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureNominated
2009Golden Raspberry AwardWorst ActressThe WomenNominated
2010Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesHawthorneWon
2011Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesHawthorneNominated
2015People's Choice AwardsFavorite Actress In A New TV SeriesGothamNominated[51][52]


  1. ^ "Jada Pinkett-Smith – Biography". MSN. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Jada Pinkett-Smith Biography". TV Guide. OpenGate Capital. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ On Her Own Terms – Baltimore Sun. Articles.baltimoresun.com (2004-08-07). Retrieved on 2013-12-30.
  5. ^ Wollman Rusoff, Jane (2009-06-13). "Jada Pinkett Smith returns to the tube on TNT". Reading Eagle. New York Times Syndicate. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  6. ^ a b "Jada Pinkett Smith bio: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Actor". Tribute.ca. Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  7. ^ a b c "Jada Pinkett-Smith Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  8. ^ a b Levitt, Shelley (1994-12-19). "Refuse to Lose". People Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  9. ^ a b Keith, Amy Elisa (2007-04-02). "Jada Pinkett-Smith: Her Turn". People Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  10. ^ "Daughter of the Bride...". People. 1998-06-22. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  11. ^ a b Henderson, Kathy (2005). "Jada Pinkett Smith's Juggling Act". Child Magazine. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  12. ^ "Jada Pinkett Smith is Harvard Foundation's 'Artist of the Year'". Harvard Gazette. 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  13. ^ Keets, Heather (1994-12-23). "Jada Pinkett is moving on up". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  14. ^ Holden, Stephen (1994-11-23). "Film in Review; Black Action With Jokes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  15. ^ "The Nutty Professor (1996)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  16. ^ Stack, Peter (1997-04-25). "Film Review- Sisterhood Sets Off Crime Story". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  17. ^ "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards". National Board of Review. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  18. ^ Walker, Robin (2003-10-31). "Pregnant pause for thought". Evening Gazette. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  19. ^ "The Matrix Reloaded (2003)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  20. ^ "The Matrix Revolutions (2003)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  21. ^ a b Swart, Sharon (2008-05-18). "'Contract' players play Cannes". Variety.com. Reed Elsevier. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  22. ^ a b "Turner Newsroom: Jada Pinkett Smith to Star and Executive Produce as a Nurse and Single Mother in TNT Drama Pilot Time Heals". Turner Network Television. Turner Broadcasting System. 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  23. ^ "Jada Pinkett-Smith debuts ‘Red Table Talks’ web series f/ Willow Smith". Turner Network Television. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2014). "Jada Pinkett Smith To Play Villain In Fox's Batman Drama 'Gotham'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c Kaufman, Gil (2005-01-31). "Jada Pinkett Smith Lives Out Her Axl Rose Dreams". MTV. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  26. ^ a b Titus, Christa L. (2005-06-07). "Osbourne Defends Wicked Wisdom's Ozzfest slot". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  27. ^ Kroll, Katy (2006-03-09). "Wicked Wisdom". Billboard Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  28. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Wicked Wisdom – Review". allmusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  29. ^ a b Nixon, Chris (2006-02-24). "Pinkett Smith gets 'Wicked'". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  30. ^ Susman, Gary (2004-03-11). "Britney's opening act: Jada Pinkett Smith". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  31. ^ Harris, Chris (2005-05-17). "Jada Pinkett Smith's Band Added to Lineup". MTV. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  32. ^ Titus, Christa L. (2005-07-25). "Wicked Wisdom Persevering On Ozzfest". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  33. ^ a b c "Will Smith Biography". People Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  34. ^ Dani, Sarika. "Jada Pinkett Smith on the Adventures of Love & Marriage to Will Smith". Tango Magazine. Tango Media. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  35. ^ "Jaden Smith bio". Tribute.ca. Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  36. ^ Messer, Lesley (2008-09-18). "Jada Pinkett Smith: I'm a Stricter Parent Than Will". People Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  37. ^ Memmott, Carol (2005-03-28). "Girls given a power boost". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  38. ^ "Will Smith, Jay-Z back beauty line". CNNMoney.com. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  39. ^ Daniels, Karu F. (2007-08-09). "Bold Soul Sister". BlackVoices.com. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  40. ^ McMillan, Dennis (2005-12-29). "Glide's Annual Holiday Fest". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  41. ^ "Thank you to our generous donors!". Capital K9s. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  42. ^ "Living Your Best Life – Fall Issue of Lupus Now Magazine Offers Tips for a Special Life". Lupus Foundation. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  43. ^ "The Stars Come Out for Butterflies Over Hollywood". Lupus Foundation. 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  44. ^ "Jennifer Hudson Thrills Audience at 4th Annual Lupus Foundation of America Awards Gala". Lupus Foundation. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  45. ^ Jill Rosen, "Jada Pinkett Smith Urges SRB To Protect Elephants," The Baltimore Sun 6 March 2012.
  46. ^ Karmali, Sarah (April 16, 2013). "Blake Lively and Halle Berry Join Gucci’s Chime For Change". Vogue. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  47. ^ MIT students draw strength from Million Woman March – MIT News Office. Web.mit.edu (1997-11-05). Retrieved on 2013-12-30.
  48. ^ Show of Strength: The Million Woman March. pbs.org. October 27, 1997
  49. ^ Organizers see sisterhood in numbers 500,000 expected at Philadelphia march – Baltimore Sun. Articles.baltimoresun.com (1997-10-24). Retrieved on 2013-12-30.
  50. ^ Friedman, Roger (2007-12-14). "Will Smith's Charities Include Scientology". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  51. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2015 hosts, nominees announced". November 4, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  52. ^ "NOMINEES & WINNERS". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 

External links[edit]