The harsh reality of being Black in America is learning that you have to work at least twice as hard as your white counterparts to get the same recognition. Now add another minority on top of that—like being a woman, and the hill becomes even steeper. Knowing this battle personally forced Jada Pinkett Smith to be harder on her daughter, Willow, than son Jaden.
During a recent episode of Red Table Talk, Willow Smith told her mother that she’s more relaxed when it came to Jaden than she is with her.
“I’d be ready at the door … and he’s getting his shoes on,” Willow said using their childhood morning routine as an example. “There is a difference between how Black moms will treat their daughters and their sons.”
Jada was open to her daughter’s complaints and even agreed to an extent. “She might have a point because I would be like, ‘No, you’ve got to be on it,'” Pinkett Smith said. Whereas, when speaking to Jaden, she would say “‘You, nah’… And then I be like, ‘And his father will deal with that. But you, you’re mine.'”
The actress goes on to explain that she was so hard on Willow because she knows the plight she will face as a Black woman in America, and wants to make sure she’s ready to fight the necessary battles.
“Because I know in this world, we have to work harder,” Jada continued. “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. … So my fear for having a Black daughter—and what I felt like she needed to be in this world—put me in a position to be a little harder on her and that’s probably how we are with each other.”
Willow also explained how her mother’s toughness has impacted her life, saying that people consider her “mean” because she’s not as passive as they may have liked. But, she does think that the lessons her mother taught her—though tough—had a positive impact on her life.
“I do be getting to work on time,” Willow said. “We have to work 10 times as hard.”