Since the ’90s Jada Pinkett Smith has graced the small and big screens. But as decades come and go, she also uses her Hollywood fame to expand her career off-screen. The Baltimore native has found ways to invest, create opportunities and make money with her family. She’s building an empire and cementing the Smith family’s contributions for the next generation. Here’s how Pinkett Smith continues to define her legacy.
1. She’s Multifaceted
Not many actors can say their body of work is as expansive as Pinkett Smith’s. Several of the parts she’s played on the big screen are pop culture faves, such as her role in the Madagascar franchise. And her films, including Girls Trip, The Nutty Professor, Set It Off, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, have collectively grossed a reported $4.2 billion at the global box office.
2. She Invests in Black Women
Long before it was trendy, Pinkett Smith supported a Black woman-owned business. When she became an early investor in Carol’s Daughter, she joined a group of celebrities who put $10 million in capital toward the Black hair care and beauty products company.
3. She Cares About the Greater Good
After her daughter, Willow Smith, showed her a documentary on girls being trafficked in the U.S., Pinkett Smith became an advocate against human trafficking. In 2015 she collaborated with CNN Special Projects to produce a documentary on sex trafficking of children in Atlanta. She’s also ventured into tech by investing in a Norwegian firm, Bipper, to support its bSafe app, which helps parents track their children.
4. She Supports Her Children’s Endeavors
Pinkett Smith has also backed her children behind the scenes. When her son, Jaden, decided to launch JUST Water, which is now valued at $100 million, Pinkett Smith actively created brand awareness by helping with its social media marketing.
5. She’s Passionate About Building a Family Business
Along with her husband, Will Smith, Pinkett Smith launched Westbrook, Inc., to hold the Smith family’s global content and commerce businesses. The company, which is home to their Westbrook Studios and her Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk, will develop new media and entertainment projects.
6. She’s Winning at Digital Content
Taking the multigenerational family dynamic she has with her daughter and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, to Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith turned it into one of the most followed shows on Facebook Watch.
In two seasons the series has generated more than 7 million followers on the social media platform and helped to spawn active discussion groups with more than 600,000 members. The show has been renewed through 2022, and Pinkett Smith plans to produce a spin-off with another famous family—The Estefans, hosted by singer Gloria Estefan.
7. She Develops Diverse Talent
Pinkett Smith has called out Hollywood for its lack of diversity. After the #OscarsSoWhite social movement, she boycotted the 2016 Oscars. And she’s tackling the issue of inclusion on several fronts: With the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, she’s now develop- ing future entertainment leaders.
Since 2016, the foundation has hosted a Careers in Entertainment tour to expose youth from underserved communities to various career paths in the entertainment industry. The organization provides mentorship, funding and access to internships and jobs, as well as online and in-person workshops.