the smiths: one family can make two revolutionaries
By Awa Gueye
November 13, 2019
The Smith family — parents Will and Jada, their children, siblings Willow and Jaden, along with matriarch Adrienne Banfield-Jones — are living proof that surrounding yourself with supportive people who hold you accountable and challenge your perspective makes for progressive thinkers.
I believe transparency is what cements their family as a clan of revolutionaries. They’ve cultivated an environment of love in which there is room for error and redemption. The Smiths have become an example of a family that is vulnerable, flawed, and emotional, all balanced by their honesty and willingness to learn. They seem to understand that the betterment of oneself is essential to bettering the surrounding world. By sharing their internal dynamic publicly, the Smith family changes the framework for future families in our communities. This framework relies on a form of nurture through inclusion and acceptance. I have no doubt that their family values allow for their individual contributions to society and not the other way around.
The public has always paid close attention to Will and Jada’s parenting style. We thought we knew what their home lives were like until they took control of their own narrative via the successful Facebook show “Red Table Talk.” Though the show is only on its second season, it’s clear how Willow and Jaden came to be who they are. Contrary to previous popular belief, the true-to-yourself spirit of their home did not come naturally to the family. In an episode of the “Red Table Talk,” Willow discusses rejecting her dad’s professional goals for her because they were hurting her. She explains that after trying to communicate this and feeling unheard, she had to take matters into her own hands by shaving her head as a rebellion against the “Whip My Hair” fame she did not ask for. Similarly, Jada corrects Will after he tells her he built her a beautiful home. She clarifies to him that he actually built the gorgeous yet excessive home for himself, that she never asked for such an extravagant place to live. Will responds to these difficult truths by admitting wrongdoing and examining what in his life made him project these wants onto his family. Jada too self corrects in front of her children and the public eye. Recently she discussed bringing her own baggage into raising her children by creating an environment in which crying was seen as weak. She talks about how she’s begun to fix this wrong by being there for Willow now and letting her cry in her arms. Jada’s mother Adrienne, better known as “Gammy” is direct and honest about her addiction struggles and the times in life she was not the perfect mother to Jada.
This household of generational transparent growth has led to children, now young adults, who know they can change the world. An environment of flawed humans with the ability to breathe through the ugly and allow themselves growth has resulted in two revolutionaries who do incredible work. The best part is they’re just beginning. Here is some of the impact Willow and Jaden have made so far:
Jaden’s Commitment To The Environment
Jaden Smith runs an ethically sourced, paper-based, water company called JUST Water. His company has had a hand in providing places like Flint, Michigan with clean water by patterning with a Church there “to develop and deploy a newly designed water-filtering system that can be used locally rather than centrally” to help end the water crisis in Flint.”
Willow Performs At The NYC Climate Strike
This year, Willow Smith joined inspiring young global activists from around the world for the Climate Strike in NYC. She took to the stage to play music for the 250,000 New Yorkers who took part in the protest!
Jaden Provides Healthy Food To The Homeless
He has an initiative called the “I Love You Restaurant.” So far, we’ve seen his “I Love You” pop-up food trucks appear in places like L.A.’s Skid Row and Harlem, NY to provide healthy vegan meals for free to those who need it. Most recently, in late October, he partnered with popular LA restaurant chain, Café Gratitude. There is a goal to sell 10,000 orders of the “I LOVE YOU Bowl” and to match that number with a free 10,000 meals to give away on Skid Row.
Willow Shares Her Anxieties With The World
Willow Smith is one-third of the “Red Table Talk.” Her honesty is moving to people of all ages, but very important for other teens to see. She discusses body image, anxiety, fears, friendships, relationships, everything. Willow’s openness about her anxiety journey is helpful for others to hear. She normalizes the topic with her candor.
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