Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Was Mom Shamed For Willow’s Shaved Head

"There was a firestorm" of "hardcore criticism," Jada said.

In an October 12th episode of their Facebook series Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith, mom Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris, and daughter Willow Smith took on the topic of mommy shaming with special guests Jessica Alba, Ashley Graham, and Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Sharing their personal experiences with mom shaming, Jada recalled the backlash she experienced after she let Willow shave her head and how the criticism directed at her also affected her kids.

Jada began the episode with stating that the first time she received hardcore criticism was when Willow cut her hair short for the first time. There was a firestorm, she said.

“These people are talking about your children, that they don’t even know,” Adrienne said, and Willow added that oftentimes people would shame Jada through Willow. “People would say things…like, ‘oh it’s not your fault. Your mother should have taught you better.'”

When people were like, ‘Oh my god I can’t believe you shaved Willow’s head!’ If they could have seen this child’s expression of freedom, looking at her hair falling to the ground, Jada said.

“So me, as a mom, looking at that, experiencing that with her, there is nothing that anyone could say to me to tell me that it was wrong. Not one person, because I was there, I was looking at her. I saw her face. I knew the journey that she and I took together to get to that point. And so, it didn’t really matter what anybody said.”

And Jada faced similar criticism when she “allowed” her son Jaden to wear more feminine clothing. “I think as Jaden got older, you know when he did the Louis Vuitton thing and he was wearing a skirt, you know? And then he isn’t what people consider your typical Black man, which is like, what is that supposed to be?” she said.

You can watch the full mommy shaming episode of Red Table Talk here.

Of course, celebrities aren’t the only people to encounter mom shamers—they’re truly everywhere, as Willow pointed out at the top of the episode, from the PTA meeting to family gatherings. Shaming parents for how they raise their children is never okay, and though sticking up for yourself against the shamers can be difficult, just remember that no one is perfect and you’re doing the absolute best job you can do. That’s all that matters.