When it started, Jada Pinkett Smith and her mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris weren't envisioning bold-faced names tackling delicate topics head-on as millions of fans listened in.
They just wanted to give Willow Smith a space to learn more about the relationship between her mom and Gammy. "Willow had been asking questions," Adrienne explained to the New York Times in March. "And it dawned on Jada that there's a lot of things that Willow just doesn't know about us."
So they sat down at their red kitchen table and pressed record, allowing the then-12-year-old to fire away. That first video, posted to YouTube in June 2013, garnered upwards of 31,000 views and sparked an idea.
There was a void, it turned out, for candid conversations and unfiltered points of view, one that could be filled with the Smith's unique brand of raw, real straight-talk and willingness to delve deep into tough subjects with Adrienne, 67, Jada, 49, and Willow, 20, offering their multi-generational perspectives.
And having experienced what Jada called a year of growth ahead of the series' May 2018 debut—"I've really been using this as the opportunity to be more vulnerable, be more open, put down the mask and so regarding things that hurt," the actress explained to The Hollywood Reporter—she felt her creation, backed by a longtime veteran of The Oprah Winfrey Show, could provide a forum for others to do the same.
As she put it, "We just wanted to create a safe space."
The kind of space where people feel comfortable unburdening themselves, perhaps? Because that's just what Red Table Talk has become in it's two-and-a-half years dominating Facebook Watch.
Filling the area Oprah Winfrey didn't entirely vacate thanks to her continued SuperSoul Conversations, Jada, Willow and Adrienne's titular table is the destination for celebs in need of giving their side of any particular story. A crucial stop on any post-scandal apology tour, stars know they'll have the space to speak their piece and that they'll be met with Jada's blend of understanding and tough love.
Take Olivia Jade, for example. Eager to move forward with her life 21 months after mom Lori Loughlin was first arrested for conspiracy to commit mail fraud thanks to her well-intentioned, but illegal attempts to get Olivia and younger sister Isabella into the prestigious University of Southern California, the onetime YouTube sensation was finally ready to offer up her take.
So she asked if she could come to the table.
And though Adrienne, for one, wasn't thrilled to have her ("I fought it tooth and nail. I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story," she noted), Jada stayed true to the goal she's had in mind since the beginning.
"Let me just be clear, I never want to be the thing that was done to me by white women—I never want to be there. Okay?" Jada explained of refusing to write off the 21-year-old influencer no matter how much heat they'd take for the decision. "I also believe that these are the kinds of attitudes that feed the same thing that we're fighting. It's like, people look at us, they say you're Black, and you're female, they automatically put us in a category. So looking at her as being white, young and privileged. And then putting her in a category is the same thing."
Ultimately that went against everything she was trying to create with a series that was meant to allow people to "take off your mask, and whatever persona you created on Instagram or Facebook," as she put it THR. "Take it off and leave it to the side for 20 minutes. I'm just hoping that it will give people permission to just be real."
And Olivia did just that. Opening up about coming to terms with her inherent privilege, the social media personality joined a growing collection of stars who have gotten very real about uncomfortable topics, talking with the fam about everything from addiction to cheating to private family drama.
So as we all digest Olivia's big mea culpa, let's reflect back on all of the other celebs who have pulled up a seat and laid bare their emotions.