In a new episode of Red Table Talk, hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris discuss colorism within the African American community.
Throughout the episode of the Facebook Watch series that premiered Wednesday morning, the three women share some of their personal experiences with “discrimination or prejudice based on skin tone, from members of the same race.”
Pinkett Smith explains the origins of colorism, saying “it began during slavery.” She notes that children with lighter-skinned tones “were given preferential treatment” and were considered to be “better, smarter, and more beautiful.”
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On a personal level, Jada said being light-skinned actually resulted in negative incidents and bullying when she was growing up in Baltimore.
“I had the opposite in my experience, being picked on for being light-skinned,” Jada stated.
Willow also spoke up about the issue, revealing that she struggled to accept her hair growing up.
“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,'” Willow reflected.
Pinkett Smith’s longtime friend Mia and her daughter Madison also appeared on the episode, and offered their perspectives of how being darker-skinned black women negatively affected them.
“It was always ‘you’re so pretty for a chocolate girl,’” Mia recalled. She also discussed how she was never called beautiful as a child, and said she may have pushed some of those same standards of beauty onto her daughter.
“I was always complimenting her on her skin,” Mia said of her daughter Madison, who also weighed in on the topic.
“I got bullied,” Madison said. “One black kid in particular he would say ‘Your skin looks like poop.’ And when I transitioned to a predominantly white school I was scared because I was like, if I’m getting this [treatment] from my own community, what am I going get from this?”
Jada added that they “all have issues with color, no matter what side you’re on.”
The episode of Red Table Talk titled “Colorism: Why Black People Discriminate Against Each Other” debuted May 27 at 9am PT / 12pm ET on Facebook Watch.