Willow Smith, the 19-year-old daughter of actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor Will Smith, recently opened up on the double standards she faced growing up alongside her brother, 22-year-old Jaden Smith, saying that Black mothers treat their daughters differently than their sons.
On a recent episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show Red Table Talk, Willow, her mother, and her grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris were joined by famed sports journalists Cari Champion and Jemele Hill to discuss why Black women don’t often support each other.
During the show, Willow shared how her mother was often harder on Willow than Jaden growing up, recalling that Jada would rush Willow to get ready to school quickly while giving Jaden leniency. “There is a difference between how Black moms will treat their daughters and their sons,” says Willow. “You know, when I was younger, something as simple as getting up at the right time.”
“It was like, ‘You better get up. You better get dressed.’ I’d be in my room going like, ‘OK, I gotta get up…,’ said Willow. “But then Jaden is there and she’d be like, ‘Uh, so are you ready to uh…’ and he’d be like, ‘Uh, maybe one moment,'” she continued. “I’d be ready at the door… and he’s getting his shoes on.”
Jada agreed that she was harder on Willow than Jaden growing up, saying: “She might have a point because I would be like, ‘No, you’ve got to be on it.'” But she would tell Jaden, “‘You, nah’… And then I be like, ‘And his father will deal with that. But you, you’re mine,'” laughed Jada.
When Jemele asked where the double standards are coming from, Jada explained that she was tougher on Willow to make her stronger, knowing from experience that Black women have to work harder in society and sought to prepare her for it. Willow agreed with her mother’s reasoning, saying, “We have to work 10 times as hard.”
“I know in this world, we have to work harder,” Jada explained to Willow. “For me, I knew that she’s going to have it twice as hard. I needed you to be strong because I know what this world is like for us as Black women.”