Jada's Journey

Photo by Yu Tsai
Newly armed as a warrior against human trafficking, Jada Pinkett Smith is on a mission to save Black and Brown girls everywhere. She's also been fighting another war: protecting her family from the intense scrutiny that's part of the life of a Hollywood star. But she's standing tall against the drama — the divorce rumors and critiques of her parenting style — and thriving. 

When you're famous—Jada Pinkett Smith famous—even a trek to the supermarket can turn into a red-carpet experience. Whether you want it or not, you're swarmed by the paparazzi; your whole life becomes a performance. But on this day the gilded opulence of the State Department in Washington, D.C., presents a different and welcome kind of red carpet. Here the 41-year-old singer–actor–producer–author–activist is courting the spotlight to promote an issue she cares deeply about: ending sex slavery around the globe.

Holding hands with husband Will Smith, 44, Jada slides into her seat, one among many in a crowd of dignitaries, government policy wonks and activists. Hillary Clinton is standing at the podium, expounding on the horrors of modern-day slavery, when she gives a hat tip to Jada: "I am so pleased that she has taken on this cause." Jada pops up briefly, does a little wave. Afterward she'll stage a mini press conference of her own, telling reporters why she decided to appear naked in her music video against sex trafficking ("As women we have to reclaim our bodies") and why, exactly, she decided to become a twenty-first-century abolitionist ("I'm ashamed to say it took my 11-year-old daughter to bring this to my awareness").

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