Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress, talk show host, and producer. The Baltimore native came from humble beginnings and was raised primarily by her mother and grandmother. Her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, saw that she was interested in entertainment at a young age and eventually got her to start applying her skills in the early ’90s. She mostly had small roles on television and eventually, her big break in came when she was on seasons four and five of A Different World. She starred alongside Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Darryl M. Bell, Dawnn Lewis, and Charnelle Brown. The show was a spin-off from The Cosby Show and originally focused on Lisa Bonet’s character, Denise Huxtable. Bonet became pregnant with daughter Zoë Kravitz and was later fired. The show shifted direction to Guy and Hardison’s characters Whitley and Dwayne.
Film Career Takes Off
- Pinkett Smith later broke into film with her debut role in Menace II Society. The film was released in 1993 and also starred Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson, Vonte Sweet, and Jullian Roy Doster. Three years later, she starred in The Nutty Professor, which helped her snag her first ensemble role as a lead in Set It Off. From there, she was able to continue to build a name for herself and was cast in The Matrix franchise (Reloaded (2003), Revolutions (2003), Resurrections (2021)), Scream 2, Return to Paradise, and more. One of her most successful films to date is her 2017 film Girls Trip, starring Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. The film was a box office hit with $140 million worldwide with a $19 million production budget.
In addition to having a successful film career, Pinkett Smith pivoted to becoming a talk show host. She hosted Red Table Talk with her mother Banfield-Norris, and daughter, Willow Smith, representing three generations. The show was canceled along with Facebook Watch’s other shows earlier this year. However, she told PEOPLE in June that the show will “definitely” be making a return.
Take a look at seven of her best acting roles below: