Jada Pinkett Smith candid on family, projects
This April 4, 2013 photo shows actress-filmmaker Jada Pinkett Smith posing for a portrait to promote the documentary, "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners," in New York. The film is about activist Angela Davis. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — Jada Pinkett Smith may have started as an actress, but these days her list of jobs includes author, singer-songwriter, philanthropist, successful businesswoman — and, of course, wife and mother.
With husband Will Smith, she started Overbrook Entertainment, which has produced many of Smith's films, as well as the upcoming remake of "Annie." But Pinkett Smith's more recent focus has been the documentary "Free Angela Davis and Other Political Prisoners," which marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of the 1970s political activist who once on the FBI's Most Wanted list.
Davis was removed from her teaching job at UCLA in 1969 because she was a member of the Communist Party. A year later, she was charged with murder and kidnapping in a shootout in front of the Marin County, Calif., courthouse, then acquitted by an all-white jury.
"I watched it and I thought I knew the Angela Davis story, and I even thought that I knew a lot about that era, and I didn't," she said. "And I was just amazed that I didn't know more, that it was my right to have a thorough understanding of such a pivotal figure like Angela Davis and what that era was."
Pinkett Smith says she not only learned a lot from spending time with the Davis, who was by her side for this interview, but she grew as a person. Pinkett Smith is trying to spread that kind of growth to others, especially via social media, where she frequently posts on thought-provoking issues, like blended families, bullying and more.
In a recent interview, the 41-year-old spoke candidly about her many roles, from the acting world to the one she's most proud of — as family matriarch.
AP: What did you know about Angela Davis growing up?
Pinkett Smith: Oh absolutely, I knew that she was a pivotal part of the movement and I knew that she was powerful and I knew that she was intelligent, but what I didn't receive was the beauty of her feminine side, you know, and her softness, and the strength in her vulnerable nature... I've learned a lot just simply being in her presence in that way, knowing that even in my own experiences, to be able to obtain a perspective that allows me to allow my experiences to deepen me and broaden me and make me more and not decrease me. So I would say that has been a gift.