Jada Pinkett Smith signs deal for ‘no holds barred’ memoir

Actor will address her ‘unconventional upbringing in Baltimore’ and ‘complicated marriage’ to Will Smith in tell-all due next year

Jada Pinkett Smith is putting her experiences on record in a new tell-all memoir, the publisher Dey Street, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced on Thursday.

The “no holds barred” memoir, due next fall, will chronicle “lessons learned in the course of a difficult but riveting journey – a rollercoaster ride from the depths of suicidal depression to the heights of personal rediscovery and the celebration of authentic feminine power”.

According to the announcement, Pinkett Smith will detail her “unconventional upbringing in Baltimore”, her friendship with the late rapper Tupac Shakur (the two attended the Baltimore School of the Arts together), her “complicated marriage” to actor Will Smith and experiences with motherhood. Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who married in 1997, have two children together: Jaden, 24, and Willow, 21.

“In crisis at age 40, Jada recounts the excruciating choices she was forced to make to redefine her life in every way,” the publisher said.

The 51-year-old actor is known for such films as Set It Off, Collateral and The Matrix Reloaded, as well as her Facebook Live series Red Table Talk, which she co-hosts with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and daughter Willow. She has been vocal about her struggles with depression and alopecia areata, which causes hair loss.

“The world has imposed many labels and narratives on Jada Pinkett Smith,” Carrie Thornton, Dey Street Books VP and editorial director, said in a statement. “This is down to the realities of our media landscape, but also the roles thrust upon women by culture. At the center of all the speculation and false stories is a woman who, like so many women, has had to reconcile her personhood with the needs of those she loves.”

Pinkett Smith made headlines this year as the subject of an infamous joke by Chris Rock at the Oscars, prompting Will Smith to walk on stage and slap Rock, a presenter. Smith went on to tearfully accept the Academy Award for best actor, and was subsequently banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years.

Pinkett Smith addressed the incident two months later on an episode of Red Table Talk, saying she hoped “these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile”.

This week has also seen the announcement that Will Smith’s slavery thriller Emancipation will be heading into the 2023 Oscar race.


Adrian Horton

The GuardianTramp

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