Activist Tamika Mallory joined Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith for the latest episode of “Red Table Talk,” where the women held an intense discussion about what it means to be a Black woman in the United States. During which Mallory made a shocking admission that she once battled drug addiction.
Mallory is most notable for her work in the Black community and with the social justice movement Black Lives Matter founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi as a response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman.
During the Thursday, May 10, show, titled “The Invisible Black Woman,” Mallory opened up about the stresses she’s dealt with in her line of work and the measures she’s taken to cope everyday pressures of being an activist.
Considering someone who’s used to speaking in front of large crowds or being the voice to the voiceless, Mallory said people might not fully understand how such a person could feel invisible, especially someone like her who describes herself as being “loud” and “talks a lot.”
“So, people are like you can’t be invisible. We can’t miss you. You’re always there. We can’t miss you. You’re always there. But my feelings are not always valued. My opinion of things, I’m constantly having to raise my temperature in order for people to know that I know what I’m talking about,” she continued. “It’s been difficult for so long to feel like I’ve been ignored. When I was with the women’s march, I experienced that.”
During her time with the organization, Mallory was the only black co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington — the largest single-day protest in the U.S. The experience left her questioning her purpose with the group.
Mallory shared that she was so overwhelmed she began taking pills to manage. “I’m getting beat up left and right. It was just too much to think about, so I started taking Xanax, taking whatever you could do to sleep. That sleep is an issue when you’re stressed — not being able to rest. Any pill that somebody would give me that had the ability to make you calm down and to deal with anxiety, I wanted it,” she revealed. “I got addicted.”
Mallory explained that the road to rehabilitation was tough. She was later informed that she would have to get treatment for PTSD, citing that the root of her issues went far past her drug addiction. Mallory said her process was all “tearing down and building me all back up.” The40-year-oldd hasn’t let that moment define her, saying, “Look at me.. I’m still cute.”
You can catch this episode and what else Mallory had to say on Facebook where “Red Table Talk” is available.