Actress, producer, director, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and humanitarian, Jada Pinkett Smith has approached life with the utmost poise and versatility. As an activist, she continues to champion causes and issues including diversity, education and justice.
Together with her husband Will Smith, she founded The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting urban inner-city youth and families. Through the foundation, Jada has offered her support to many important organizations in an effort to create partnerships and change. Her work to empower women and girls continues through programs like the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women, which provides education, mentoring and key resources to women working professionally in screen directing. Jada also continues to support the Tisch Fusion Film Festival that serves as NYU’s premiere student film festival dedicated exclusively to showcasing the work of emerging female filmmakers.
As an author, Jada’s children’s book “Girls Hold Up The World,” landed on the New York Times best-seller list. In 2011, with the help of her daughter Willow, she joined the fight against human trafficking, advocating for survivors and raising awareness in local communities. In partnership with The CNN Freedom Project, Pinkett Smith produced the award-winning TV documentary “Children for Sale” which explored human trafficking in Atlanta, Georgia. Pinkett Smith continues to be a resounding voice fighting against modern-day slavery through her Don’t Sell Bodies Initiative that serves as an information portal for human trafficking awareness. The DSB initiative has and continues to support and partner with organizations like GEMS, founded by award winning author and activist, Rachel Lloyd and CAST, the largest direct service provider to survivors of human trafficking in the US. She also serves on the advisory board of Gucci’s empowerment initiative Chime for Change, which campaigns for improved education, health and justice for women and girls worldwide.
In addition, Pinkett Smith is an investor in JUST, a company that combines for-profit energy and non-profit motives with the goal of offering everyday products with impact, affordably. Its first product is JUST water – a 100% spring water in a paper and plant based bottle, sourced through an ethical trade partnership with the city of Glens Falls, New York where water is abundant.
Born and raised in Maryland, Pinkett Smith studied dance and acting at Baltimore School of the Arts and North Carolina School of the Arts. Her resourcefulness and determination led her to a variety of professional opportunities, most notably the series “A Different World,” which launched her acting career on television. In 1993, she landed her first feature film starring role in “Menace II Society,” opposite Samuel L. Jackson and “The Nutty Professor,” opposite Eddie Murphy.
Jada went on to produce “The Secret Life of Bees” starring Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning for Fox Searchlight Pictures. She was also executive producer on the 2010 film “The Karate Kid,” and the 2014 documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” that chronicled the trial and acquittal of the iconic social activist Angela Davis. She then went on to executive produce the CBS syndicated talk show, “The Queen Latifah Show.”
She can also be credited for producing the Tony Award winning Broadway musical “Fela” and the film remake of the 1982 musical, “Annie,” alongside her husband and record industry mogul Jay-Z. In the summer of 2015, Pinkett Smith starred alongside Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike XXL” taking on the empowering role of Rome, an all male strip club owner and emcee.
Jada was last seen as the sharp-tongued friend in the comedy, “Bad Moms.” Currently, Pinkett Smith plays a reoccurring role as Fish Mooney, in FOX’s “GOTHAM,” and will star in Universal Picture’s comedy “Girl Trip” out next summer 2017.