Who is Jada Pinkett Smith?
Jada Koren Pinkett Smith is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and dancer. The multi-talented personality is a businesswoman as well. Smith effectively began her acting career in the American comedy series ‘A Different World’, where she appeared in a supporting role, playing a character named Lena James. Throughout her career, she has appeared in several popular films such as ‘Menace II Society’, ‘The Matrix Revolution’, and ‘Magic Mike XXL’. She was recently seen in movies such as ‘Bad Moms’, which was directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The movie was a commercial success. She was one of the co-creators of ‘All of Us’, an American comedy series, which aired on the UPN Network. As a singer she formed the metal band Wicked Wisdom. Pinkett Smith became the lead vocalist of the band, and four years after its formation, the band released a self-titled album. As a businesswoman, she created her own fashion label Maja, which features women’s T-shirts and dresses. Smith is also a shareholder of the Philadelphia 76ers, a professional basketball team that plays for the NBA. Along with her husband, she created the ‘Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation’ to support needy people. She is also associated with organizations such as the ‘Lupus Foundation of America’, and ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’.
Childhood & Early Life
Jada Koren Pinkett was born on September 18, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. She was named after Jada Rowland, who was her mother’s favorite soap opera actress. Her father Robsoll Pinkett Jr., ran a construction company while her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, was the head nurse of an inner city clinic in Baltimore. She also has a brother Caleeb Pinkett, who grew up to become an actor and a writer.
Her parents divorced when Jada was young and she was raised by her mother along with her grandmother Marion Martin Banfielda. It was she who noticed her granddaughter’s interest in the performing arts. Therefore, she was enrolled in piano, tap dance, and ballet lessons.
Jada studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts, as well as at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Later she moved to Los Angeles, where she stayed with LaVern Whitt, who was a long-time family friend. She introduced Jada to people in the show business to help begin her acting career.
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Jada Pinkett Smith’s first TV appearance was in an episode of ‘True Colours’ an American comedy series that ran from 1990 to 1992. After appearing in guest roles in TV shows such as ‘Doogie Howswer, M.D.’ and ’21 Jump Street’, she earned an important role in ‘A Different World’, an American comedy drama which was created by Bill Cosby.
She made her film debut in 1993 in the American thriller ‘Menace II Society’. Though the film was a commercial success, it gained bad reputation for its violent scenes, profane language and drug-related content.
Throughout the next few years, she appeared in both lead roles and supporting roles in several films such as ‘Demon Knight’ (1995), ‘Set it Off’ (1996), ‘Woo’ (1996), ‘Scream 2’ (1997), and ‘Return to Paradise’ (1998). In 2000, she appeared in the movie ‘Bamboozled’, a film which was a satire of racial bias in the TV industry. The film, however, was a commercial flop.
A few years later, in 2003, she became known for her role in the American Australian movie ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and its sequel ‘The Matrix Revolution’. Both films turned out to be commercially successful.
She played the voice role of Gloria the hippopotamus in ‘Madagascar,’ a 2005 animated comedy film, which became a huge commercial hit worldwide. Two sequels were released, ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’, (2008) and ‘Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted’, (2012) where Pinkett Smith continued to voice the animated character Gloria.
Jada Pinkett Smith made her directorial debut in 2008, when she directed the movie ‘The Human Contract’. Also the writer of the film, she appeared in a supporting role as well.
She played the lead role in ‘Hawthorne’, an American medical drama series which aired from 2009 to 2011. Her role earned her nominations for the NAACP Image Award and the Prism Award.
She was latest seen in the movies ‘Magic Mike XXL’ (2015) and ‘Bad Moms’ (2016).
’Menace II Society’, which was the debut film of Jada Pinkett Smith, is also one of her significant works. The film, which was directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, followed the life of a young man Kaydee, and his misadventures. Other actors in the film included Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson, and MC Eiht. The film was a commercial success, and also earned positive reviews.
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’The Nutty Professor’ a 1996 sci-fi film, is another one of Pinkett Smith’s important works. The film, which can be considered a parody of the popular novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by RL Stevenson, was directed by Tom Shadyac, and included actors Eddie Murphy, James Coburn, and Larry Miller in addition to Jada. The film was also a commercial hit, and grossed $274 million worldwide. It also won an Oscar for Best Makeup.
She played a voice role in ‘Madagascar,’ an animated comedy film, which became hugely popular internationally. Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, the movie is about four animals, a lion, a giraffe, a zebra and a hippo, who were from the Central Park Zoo in New York, but because of a series of mishaps, find themselves stranded on the island of Madagascar, far away from human civilization. The movie became a huge commercial success, grossing more than $500 million worldwide.
’Bad Moms’, which is one of the latest works in Pinkett Smith’s career, can be also considered one of her most important works. The film, which is about the life of a married mother-of-two named Amy Mitchell, was written and directed by Scott Moore. The cast included Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell alongside Jada Pinkett Smith. The film was a commercial success and received mixed reviews.
Awards and Achievements
Throughout her career, Jada Pinkett Smith has won several important awards and nominations. Some of them are the ‘Blockbuster Entertainment Award’ in 1998 for ‘Best Supporting Actress- Horror’ for her role in ‘Scream 2’, and the ‘Teen Choice Award’ in 2003, for ‘Choice Movie Actress- Action’, for her role in the sci-fi movie ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, and the ‘Image Award’ for ‘Outstanding Actress’ in 2011, for her role in the medical drama series ‘Hawthorne’.
Jada Pinkett Smith is married to the well-known actor and rapper Will Smith. The two met in 1994 and got married after a period of three years. They have two children, Jaden and Willow. Jada is also a stepmother to Trey Smith, who is Will’s son from a previous marriage.
Pinkett Smith is also known for her philanthropy. Along with her husband, she created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, a charity which provides assistance to youths and families. They have provided grants to several non-profit organizations.
In 2006, their charity was awarded the David Angell Humanitarian Award by the American Screenwriters Association. She has also donated a million dollars to the Baltimore School of the Arts.
She resides with her family in Malibu, California.
Jade Pinkett Smith has an estimated net worth of $ 20 million.