Red Table Talk is the talk show we didn’t know we needed. And this week’s episode hits particularly close to home for the Black community.
Host Jada Pinkett Smith, along with her daughter, Willow, and mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, sat down for Wednesday’s all-new episode of the hit Facebook Watch series in which they shared their personal experiences with colorism.
“It’s discrimination or prejudice based on skin tone from members of the same race,” Pinkett Smith said in the episode, which was filmed prior to the world shutting down due to COVID-19.
Pinkett Smith explained that colorism began during slavery when White slave owners would often “rape their slaves who gave birth to light-skinned children.” These children, she added, “were given preferential treatment.”
“Lighter meant better, smarter and more beautiful,” the actress continued. “This hateful bias seeped into Black culture and continues to divide us.”
And it’s true.
We’ve all heard the phrases “If it ain’t White, it’s not right” or “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” growing up, but Pinkett Smith revealed her own truth of growing up light-skinned. “I had the opposite in my experience, being picked on for being light-skinned,” Pinkett Smith said.
“Back in the day, you would always hear Black people like, ‘I got Indian in me,’ still not owning our own blackness and that’s just a result of all the brainwashing that has happened over the years and the perpetuation of White supremacy,” Banfield Norris added. “The approximation to White is what’s valued around the world…. Back in the day, if you were light-skinned [with] long hair, you would get bank for no reason. Just think about how superficial that is.”
For Willow, it wasn’t her skin, but actually her hair that left her feeling insecure.
“My cousins and my friends, I would look at her hair and be like, ‘I would be so much prettier if my hair wasn’t so kinky or if I had longer hair.’ ”
Watch the full episode of Red Table Talk above.