On a recent episode of “Red Table Talk,” Willow contended that when she was growing up Jada was a lot stricter with her in situations in which her older brother would be treated much more leniently.
“There is a difference between how Black moms treat their daughters and their sons,” the 19-year-old said.
Jada as well as Willow’s grandmother Adrienne Banfield Norris were also present to contribute their views to the discussion.
Willow explained that it could be “something as simple as getting up at the right time,” before describing how in the mornings before school Jada would hurry her out of the house while going easier on her slower brother.
“It was like, ‘You better get up. You better get dressed.’ I’d be in my room going like, ‘OK, I gotta get …'” she said. “But then Jaden is there and she’d be like, ‘Uh, so are you ready to uh …’ and he’d be like, ‘Uh, maybe one moment.'”
Willow noted that when she would be “ready at the door” her brother would be moving at a glacial pace, and wouldn’t be “getting his shoes on” as fast as she was.
Jada laughingly conceded the point, saying, “That’s true. She might have a point.”
She maintained that the differences in her treatment of the two siblings originated from the knowledge that Black women have to “work harder.”
“For me, I knew that she’s gonna have it twice as hard,” the actor said. “I needed you to be strong because I know what this world is like for us as Black women.”
She continued, “My fear for having a Black daughter and what I felt like she needed to be in this world put me in a position to be a little harder on her.”
Willow and Jaden’s father and Jada’s husband Will Smith, who has previously characterized himself as the disciplinarian in the household, has said that Willow always was more likely to rebel under discipline than Jaden was.
While Jada acknowledged that she could be a little bit harder on her daughter, she also has allowed Smith a great deal of freedom to express herself.
In a prior episode of “Red Table Talk,” E! Online reported an instance where she recalled giving Willow permission to shave her head, only to be “shamed” for allowing it.
“I have had my fair share of mom-shaming,” she said. “With Willow, I think the first time I got hardcore criticism, when you first cut your hair, there was a firestorm.”
However, the “Girls Trip” star said she wasn’t bothered by her detractors because the haircut made Willow happy.
“Looking at how my children were being affected, that’s what counts. When people are like, ‘I can’t believe you shaved Willow’s head,’ if they could have seen this child’s expression of freedom, looking at her hair falling to the ground,” Jada added.
“Me as a mum looking at that, experiencing that with her, there’s nothing anyone could say to me to tell me that it was wrong. Not one person, because I was there, I was looking at her, I saw her face, I knew the journey she and I took together to get to that point. It didn’t matter what anybody said.”