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Jada Pinkett Smith Defends Anne Hathaway As A White Ally After Nia Wilson Criticism

“As women of color, we really have to recognize when white women come in to help, that we make room for it,” Pinkett Smith said in the latest “Red Table Talk” episode.
Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
By Paula Rogo · February 19, 2019

Jada Pinkett Smith called actress Anne Hathaway an ally in the fight for equality in the latest episode of Red Table Talk, which tackles white privilege and how it affects the relationships between white women and women of color.

In the episode, which was released Monday, Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones sat down with three other women: activist and writer Rachel Cargle, actress Justina Machado, and Amie Newman.

Pinkett Smith and Cargle soon started debating what allyship from white women should look like, using Hathaway’s commentary on Nia Wilson’s murder last year as an example.

“As women of color, we really have to recognize when white women come in to help, that we make room for it,” Pinkett Smith said.

“Because there’s been a couple of times, like with Anne Hathaway… at some point, when are we as Black women going to be able to recognize an ally?” she added.

Courtesy Of Nia Wilson’s Family

Hathaway called out white privilege in an Instagram post that shone a spotlight on the tragic murder of Nia Wilson last year.

Wilson, 18, was viciously stabbed by a white man while in a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train station in Oakland, California.

“The murder of Nia Wilson- may she rest in the power and peace she was denied here- is unspeakable AND MUST NOT be met with silence,” she wrote. “She is not a hashtag; she was a Black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man.”

She continued: “White people- including me, including you- must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL Black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS. White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence. Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves- how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action? “

Despite Pinkett Smith’s praise for Hathaway, Cargle wasn’t on board.

“The truth is, until all women are free, no woman is free,” she said, quoting feminist author Audre Lorde. “And that’s what white women don’t understand.”

Smith replied: “That’s my belief; we all need each other. And I believe that white women are very clear about that, which is why they tend to rally for our support.”

“How many of the women at the Women’s March showed up at Black Lives Matter marches?” Cargle asked. “I’d call it a parade… the Women’s March was a parade of white women who wanted to feel like they were included in something. Not much changed in how they were showing up for people of color.”

Cargle continued: “It’s not a matter of Black women saying, ‘Hey, we’re open to you being an ally!’ that’s not the case. It’s white women showing up and saying, ‘You have a righteous anger. You are allowed to be livid at the things we have imposed on you over history.’”