As someone who’s always looking for something new, I found myself stumbling onto Facebook Watch’s latest digital phenomenon. Next to Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, it’s the next best thing. If you’re wondering what I’m speaking of it’s Jada Pinkett Smith’s newest platform—Red Table Talk.
For those who have not yet tuned in, Red Table Talk features Jada, her mother and her daughter, Willow Smith in the Smith home. Three generations of women who were born in different times, but still have similar struggles with life, love, friendships, and womanhood.
Like most, I was intrigued after seeing the advertisement for her first episode with Will’s ex-wife, Sheree. For years, a lot of people rooted from the sidelines as they watched how well their blended family gelled. At the same time, many wondered—how do they get along so well? For me, I was certainly curious how they made it work so well, especially since baby mothers and the new woman drama storyline was such a prevalent one in many communities.
So, I tuned in.
After watching the first episode, I was hooked. For forty-five minutes, I watched attentively as the two women were raw, vulnerable, and honest about their initial encounter and how they both played a part in the rocky start. I was struck with intrigue as Jada’s mother admitted despite how famous Will may have been—being a second wife and ready to go mother—was not something she wanted for her daughter. I was enamored at how these women had reached a point of maturity that so many have yet to find in their journey of co-parenting. I was proud to see two black women kick the shit out of the angry black woman stereotype we are always labeled with.
Now, after four episodes, I’m certain I will continue to tune in and here’s five reasons why you should too.
1. VULNERABLE CONVERSATIONS
As black women, we aren’t often given the space to be vulnerable. Society has this “always strong” outlook when it comes to black women and most times we don’t get the time to unload our feelings, struggles, and anything else that may be pulling at us. This show provides the space for that and provokes conversations that need to be had among women. Jada has opened the door to topics that women face, yet don’t take the time out to have.
Seeing her open up with Will’s ex about the role she played in their difficult start was powerful to me. So many women and men experience hardships of blending families. A lot of families struggle with getting to a happy, respectful place when it comes to co-parenting and usually the kids and the marriage suffers because of it. I applauded Jada for admitting that she didn’t understand the dynamics of what she’d walked into and like most, she was trying to establish her role in the relationship—which sometimes resulted in her being petty. As far as Sheree was concerned, she also admitted how she exhibited immature behavior as well due to her feeling alienated, threatened and recently divorced.
It was a realization that many women feel when they part ways with the father of their children and a new woman is now in the picture. As a newly divorced woman, she owned the fact that she was still hurt from the situation and she struggled with emotions of her own concerning her son.
My favorite part of this episode was when both women apologized to one another for the hurtful things they did and owned their role in it. I also loved how they both complemented each other on the positive contributions they played during this time of figuring it out instead of pointing the finger at one another. They put it all on the red table and made it clear that although they are in a great place now—it took time, work, maturity, respect, and compromise to get there.
2. PROMOTES GROWTH AND FORGIVENESS
In her latest episode, Jada sat down with Gabrielle Union as they spoke about their turbulent relationship. For the last seventeen years, both women hadn’t dealt with the other and were only cordial when they did see each other out. Jada began the conversation with stating how she’s on this journey of healing and growth—and Gabrielle kept popping up in her head.
What I found intriguing is like so many people, mainly women, we tend to fall out with friends or associates without even knowing why. Life happens, feelings are harbored, conversations aren’t had and before you know it—life passes you by. I watched as the two women admitted they didn’t know why they were feuding with each other and how either of them failed to be the bigger person. Gabrielle went on to explain her journey of self-awakening and self-healing that she had to do to find her happy and inner peace. She owned her bitterness and stated how over the years she was the mean girl in the crowd because she was struggling with her own confidence.
As they talked, I looked on at how even though they could have continued to give each other fake smiles and hellos, they thought enough of one another to take the time out to put everything on the table and talk. They put on their big girl panties, set their egos aside and once again did the work. What I took from their conversation was in order to effectively grow—you need to communicate and forgive.
So often, we want peace and happiness, but we don’t want to do the work to obtain it. We don’t want to have the hard conversations with ourselves and others that require unfiltered honesty to truly embrace it.
What I love about her mini show is that she makes room for honesty, because she’s honest herself. As she continues her journey of growth, you can see she has grasped the reality that for true growth to be attainable—she needs to be honest about who she is and what she’s done. With the episodes featuring Sheree and Gabrielle, Jada is open about the roles she’s played in the relationships. She raw about how she had to point fingers at herself and do a self-check about the pettiness she’s added to many of her failed relationships and situations.
She’s honest about not liking parts of her body that in the age of social media—many women struggle with. She’s honest about how even though its been over twenty years, she still misses and struggles with Tupac being gone. She creates a space for others to be honest about life struggles that everyone has and endures.
4. RELATABLE TOPICS
Whether she’s talking about co-parenting, mending broken friendships or body confessions—Jada is on target with the topics she discusses. She is choosing the perfect girl talk conversations that some have, some don’t have, and most should have. In this day in age, women are held to this ridiculous standard of beauty that if we’re being honest—is unattainable.
In her third episode, she sits down with her mother and her daughter to discuss what they love and dislike about themselves. They all openly poured out what they didn’t like about their bodies while struggling with what they loved about themselves. It was amazing to see Jada, a woman who thousands of people thought was beautiful admit that she didn’t like things about herself.
Each of them admitted that social media plays a sad, but crucial role in how women are viewed, how they pick themselves apart, and how they kill themselves to live up to this impossible standard. Willow spoke about how she struggled with meeting guys due to her body shape. Because she isn’t the typical, curvy woman, she’s often looked over and categorized as the “homie or friend.” A category a lot of women fall into because they aren’t viewed as desirable or the current trend of beautiful—and in turn, destroy themselves to climb out of.
With all the negativity that we constantly see on social media and television—Red Table Talk is a breath of fresh air. It promotes love, truth, forgiveness, and healing. It helps opens the door to your inner self and it makes you think about some things. Life has a way of beating you down and sometimes we forget to talk to someone about it. We tend to put necessary conversations on the back burner in hopes we’ll get to them when life slows down.
After watching the episode with her and Gabrielle, it had me thinking, “Are there conversations I need to have?” Could there be some people I should clear the air with?
The show moves me in a way to strive to continue to have an open-door policy with my mother and one day my daughter or son. The conversations they have show how important it is for people to have someone to vent to about what’s going on in their life.
I also love how this show promotes positivity, self-talk, accountability, and healing. All four components are required to find your way to happy. For the sake of her viewers, I hope that she continues to keep the show in its current intimate state. It’s a wonderful show that pushes women to become better women and encourages them to do the work to find what makes them happy.
And I’m here for all of it.