Hola chicas! Yesterday I had the rare opportunity and honor to speak with the talented and brilliant actor/director, Jada Pinkett Smith. This entertainment legend, who I assume rocks an ‘S’ on her chest beneath her ultra chic attire, is using her influence to manifest projects that “bring balance” to our community. Please read on to learn more about her latest endeavor and then go forth and support the hell out of it!
On the documentary-
‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’ is specifically about Angela Davis, who I think is one of the most fascinating women of our era. I think the aspect of this documentary that really fascinates me, is that I thought I knew the Angela Davis story and I did not. There were a lot of shocking pieces about who she is as a woman and pieces about her trial and the movement itself that I was unaware of. The documentary actually came to me completed- it needed more money, a place to live… it needed distribution, which is why I came on board. When we finally got it done, I was thinking to myself that this is a story that needs to be told. A story that is a really fascinating piece of American History and oftentimes, unfortunately, these stories are only put in the niche of African American History, or Black History, but this is actually American History. It just happens to be centered around the civil rights movement. For me, I just felt like this was a really compelling part of our American History that needed to be told, that an African American woman is the center of, who happens to be the amazing Angela Davis!
After the theatrical release, which is rather extensive for a documentary, we’re hoping to make the documentary available to schools so that it may be shared in classrooms.
On her children’s reaction to ‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’-
It was imperative that my children see the documentary, as well as that they actually have a chance to meet Angela Davis. And they were pretty astounded at just the history itself. These are kids that are born into an America where probably the first president they’ll ever remember is an African American. It’s a different reality for them. So for them to see and meet someone who has helped pave the way for a Barack Obama to be able to lead… it was amazing. The first thing Willow said to me was, “wow, I got to meet a real hero today and she doesn’t even wear a cape”. And she was like, “ma, do you think I can do an Afro?!” OF COURSE! She’s still contemplating it , too! I love how she expresses herself with her hair.
On supporting the change we want to see-
This is definitely a project that is important to support on so many levels. As an audience, we do have a responsibility. We can’t complain about the kinds of projects that are put out there in the community, if we are not willing to support the other projects that come out. This is a money game, it really is. You would hope that it was just a creative, an art game, and a conscious game… like, ‘consciously I shouldn’t do this because it isn’t representative of the community’, but unfortunately it’s a money game. So what people do is they create projects that people will support and see. That’s what it is at the end of the day. When you are seeing things that you believe are not representative of the community, then we have to make other choices of supporting those projects that we believe inspire, enlighten and strengthen. I believe that all kinds of projects should exist, because there are all kinds of realities, but when we have an out-of-balance, and you have more of something than something else versus versatility- that’s when we need to assess.