As they say, mom knows best—even if other moms disagree.
In a newly released episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, the actress and her co-hosts—mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith—honed in on the show's designated topic, mom shaming. Joined by fellow moms Ashley Graham, Jessica Alba and Maren Morris, the parents tackled the tricky and trying issue mothers are facing, even more so now in the digital age.
Given her years in the spotlight as a mom of two, Jada is certainly no stranger to the type of criticism and backlash that can ensue from parenting decisions. Specifically, she recalled her first time experiencing "hardcore criticism" with Willow when the then-11-year-old shaved her head in the midst of her "Whip My Hair" fandom. "When you first cut your hair," Jada said, "I mean, there was a firestorm."
Later on in the episode, first-time mom Ashley asked Jada what tools she's used to combat the anxiety around such shaming. For Jada, it all comes down to how her children actually feel.
"Looking at how my children were being affected, that's what count," she said. "When people are like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe you shaved Willow's head!' If they coulda seen this child's expression of freedom looking at her hair falling to the ground, so me as a mom looking at that, experiencing that with her—there is nothing that anyone could say to me to tell me that it was wrong."
"Not one person," the actress continued, "because I was there, I was looking at her, I saw her face, I knew the journey that she and I took together to get to that point, and so, it didn't really matter what anybody said."
While Jada was being criticized for her parenting, husband Will Smith learned something about his own. As he recalled in Jay-Z's "Footnotes of Adnis" video, he had pushed Willow to finish the "Whip My Hair" tour even though she expressed that she was done. Cue the head shave.
"I'm looking at that girl and I'm like, 'Got it. I understand. You will not have this trouble out of me ever again. Let's go, baby. We can go,'" he said. "For me, it was that soldier that was pushing and wasn't paying any attention whatsoever to what was going on emotionally with this beautiful little creature in front of me...That was the first part of the collapsing of my father's suit that I was wearing that wasn't mine."