Can the younger generation achieve racial equality? Don’t rule them out.
This very point was made by Jada Pinkett-Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield Norris on Friday’s episode of Red Table Talk. In honor of Juneteenth, the panel of women—which included guests and Civil Rights activists Tamika D. Mallory and Dr. Angela Davis—held a candid conversation about racism in America.
During the 35-minute episode, the conversation touched on police brutality, diversity and inclusion, cancel culture and more. While mom Jada expressed that “Black America is in a crisis,” referring to the deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Breonna Taylor, 19-year-old Willow expressed optimism regarding the future and racial equality.
“I feel like right now, [this is] the first time I’ve ever seen so many people on the same page,” the “Whip My Hair” artist said regarding the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. “On one hand, that’s really inspiring and gives me a lot of hope and on the other hand, it kind of feels like just now?”
Nonetheless, later on, Willow praised her generation’s open-mindedness and ability to blur societal lines.
“We’re blurring the lines…[ ] and kids are growing up with this understanding that you can be whatever you want and you’re not defined by your oppression, or your gender or your color,” Willow expressed.
Dr. Davis supported this sentiment, adding, “Young people have given us the capacity to question that which is considered normal.”
Yet, in order to enact change, Willow called for people to put an end to cancel culture.
“This is so prevalent right now. I’m seeing people shaming others, like saying really terrible things. Shaming people for what they are choosing to say or shaming people for not saying anything at all,” Will Smith‘s daughter relayed. “If we really want change, shaming doesn’t lead to learning.”
In support of this stance, Mallory noted “cancel culture is a little dangerous.”
For Dr. Davis, social media has both positively and negatively affected the movement.
“There’s some really important aspects to our new social media technologies. We can organize and mobilize but the tendency to shortcut everything and assume that everybody has to know everything already — what about the conversations?” Dr. Davis explained. “This is a moment in which we can share and learn and think and converse. People should not be afraid of being canceled because they make a mistake in that process.”
In agreement, Jada reminded those tuning into the show that now “is the time for conversation.”
Watch the powerful conversation in the video above.
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