The Untold Truth Of Red Table Talk

"Red Table Talk" is definitely a one-of-a-kind talk show featuring a one-of-a-kind family. 

The brainchild of Jada Pinkett Smith, "Red Table Talk" premiered on Facebook Watch in May 2018, featuring Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith, and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris as hosts. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Pinkett Smith explained how the show came to be, saying, "We just wanted to create a safe space." The actress continued, telling the publication she'd hoped to create a home for "real, raw, unfiltered conversations about what's changing, and how those changes are affecting us and the process that we're going through in order to deal with those changes."


Since making its debut, "Red Table Talk" has gained quite an impressive fan base — proving that intimate, in-depth, often controversial discussions about hot button issues were exactly what audiences were craving. As fans of the show know, "Red Table Talk" is beloved for its rare ability to connect with viewers on a personal level, while also making headlines for those "real, raw, unfiltered conversations" between Pinkett Smith and her family. However, as popular as "Red Table Talk" may be, there's still plenty to learn about groundbreaking project. Here's the untold truth of "Red Table Talk."

Red Table Talk was inspired by real-life mother-daughter conversations

The origins of "Red Table Talk" can be traced back to conversations between Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith that took place long before the show came to fruition. "Willow had been asking questions, and it dawned on Jada that there's a lot of things that Willow just doesn't know about us," Banfield-Norris told The New York Times, explaining her daughter's inspiration for the series.


As fans of the show know, "Red Table Talk" is admired for the raw, unfiltered, often emotional conversations held between the three generations of women who seem to share a super close-knit, loving, and unbreakable bond. However, what viewers see on the screen doesn't exactly reflect the real-life relationships between the hosts.

According to Banfield-Norris, the open and honest nature of the hosting trio might lead some viewers to mischaracterize the relationship she has with her daughter, Pinkett Smith. The "Red Table Talk" matriarch told The New York Times, "I think people have this idea that Jada and I are so close, and it's this amazing mother-daughter relationship, [but] it absolutely is not." Added Banfield-Norris, "I think people [just] want to believe that it is that."


Red Table Talk owes a debt to Oprah Winfrey

"Red Table Talk" creator Jada Pinkett Smith credits Oprah Winfrey for blazing the trail that allowed her to launch her popular Facebook Watch series. 

In October 2019, Pinkett Smith took to Instagram to gush over the iconic media mogul, who walked away from her talk show in 2011. Posting a photo featuring herself and Winfrey (as well as their respective significant others, Stedman Graham and Will Smith), Pinkett Smith wrote, "This woman beside me is the only reason 'Red Table Talk' could even be imagined."


In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Pinkett Smith went even further to address comparisons between Winfrey's groundbreaking daytime talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and her own series — insisting that Winfrey had always been, and will always be, in a league of her own. "There's only one Oprah," Pinkett Smith declared. And, while she said she was "honored" to be compared to her talk show idol, Pinkett Smith made it clear she doesn't consider herself the next Oprah Winfrey. The star told Entertainment Tonight, "['Red Table Talk'] is like an evolution ... Oprah is her own thing."

Red Table Talk has helped Jada Pinkett Smith discover herself

There's no question that "Red Table Talk" has connected with viewers, sparking vibrant conversations about often-taboo topics that nonetheless need to be talked about. However, the popular talk show has also allowed Jada Pinkett Smith to continue on the personal voyage of self-discovery that led her to create "Red Table Talk" in the first place.


"I have a lot more transparency to go, a lot more stories to tell," Pinkett Smith said in an interview with the Associated Press. Agreeing that she experienced a "deep comfort level" when speaking with her mother and daughter, Pinkett Smith revealed, "There's always those deeper levels because as you go, you realize you don't know yourself as well as you think. And that's real talk."

As Pinkett Smith explained to the Associated Press, the conversations she's had on "Red Table Talk" have allowed some "new doors" to be flung open in her mind, inspiring epiphanies about herself while also helping her to uncover "new revelations" regarding her personal relationships. According to the host, the process of self-discovery is never-ending. "I'm discovering myself every single day," Pinkett Smith revealed.


Jada Pinkett Smith thinks of Red Table Talk as a 'storytelling show'

After "Red Table Talk" received a 2019 Daytime Emmy nomination in the informative talk-show category, Jada Pinkett Smith spoke with the Associated Press about what she thought made "Red Table Talk" stand out from the other nominees in that category, which included the likes of NBC's "Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda," "The Dr. Oz Show," and "Rachael Ray."


"I think it's more of a storytelling show," the "Red Table Talk" creator explained. She continued, saying, "It's just exchanging of stories and life lessons learned from those stories." According to Pinkett Smith, that element of her show fostered a different type of conversation than what's usually seen in traditional talk shows, which often feature a simple question-and-answer format between the host and guests. "It's like we're immersed in it as a two-way communication experience," Pinkett Smith explained.

The star shared the same opinion during an interview about "Red Table Talk" on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." "I just like people to come and share an experience of some kind," Pinkett Smith told Colbert, adding that she appreciated people "sharing their experiences instead of advice."


Red Table Talk partnered with a provocative card game

In November 2019, "Red Table Talk" introduced a special "Red Table Talk"-themed expansion pack to the We're Not Really Strangers card game, described as a "purpose driven" game featuring questions intended to inspire "meaningful connections."


As reported by People, the expansion pack featured several "curated questions" from Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that were specially crafted to encourage deeper relationships, particularly between family members. "'Red Table Talk' has been an incredible platform to share my journey, be vulnerable and have real conversations," Pinkett Smith told People. She continued, saying, "When Willow discovered We're Not Really Strangers, we knew it was special and had the ability to open the lines of communication in such an accessible and fun way to get deeper and raw with one another."

The point of the expansion pack, according to Pinkett Smith, was to create an avenue to encourage viewers of the show to create their own "Red Table Talk" experience. "It's all about families and inter-generations coming together and just connecting in a way that reflects the types of discussions we are having on the show," Pinkett Smith told People.


This is why Jada Pinkett Smith didn't take Red Table Talk to mainstream TV

"Red Table Talk" is certainly a one-of-a-kind show. However, its unique format initially made it difficult for the show to find a network willing to give it a home.

When Jada Pinkett Smith began pitching "Red Table Talk" as a television show, she quickly realized that broadcast networks were simply not going to provide the kind of nurturing home required for the raw, candid conversations she envisioned unfolding across her red table. As Pinkett Smith told The Guardian, she decided to bring her project to Facebook Watch because other outlets "all wanted to add a dancing bear to it." Added the host, "I just wanted us sitting around a table."


According to Pinkett Smith, the free-spirited nature of Willow Smith is another reason why "mainstream TV" would never work for her show. "Willow is not built for that kind of conventional set-up," Pinkett Smith explained to The Guardian. Comparing her daughter (who looks just like her famous parents)  to "a little butterfly," Pinkett Smith continued, "That's part of her mental health, she needs freedom. You've just got to let her fly."

Get ready for a Red Table Talk spinoff show

When "Red Table Talk" launched in May 2018, Facebook Watch was still its infancy. However, the talk show quickly attracted a larger audience to the streaming platform. 

In fact, "Red Table Talk" proved to be such a hit that Facebook Watch renewed the series for three more years in January 2020, prompting fans to get excited for more real and raw conversations between Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Willow Smith, and celebrity guests until at least 2022.


As People reported, Facebook Watch also announced plans for a "Red Table Talk" spinoff called "Red Table Talk: The Estefans," featuring pop star Gloria Estefan, musician daughter Emily Estefan, and niece Lili Estefan — which will likely add three more names to the list of talk show hosts who live insanely lavish lives. In a statement expressing her excitement over the news, Pinkett Smith revealed, "I'm incredibly proud of 'Red Table Talk,' and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili." She continued, writing, "I'm excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places." The spinoff debuted in October 2020.

Jada Pinkett Smith's self-reflection led her to create Red Table Talk

"Red Table Talk" and the open, honest conversations it engenders are a direct result of creator and host Jada Pinkett Smith's own personal journey of self-discovery, according to the star herself.

"I guess at this point in my life, I've really been doing a lot of interior work," Pinkett Smith explained in an interview with NPR. A big part of her own personal growth, she revealed, has come from discussions with other women whose honesty about their own experiences and has assisted her "tremendously" in her own voyage of self-development and uncovering the untold truth about self-confidence. Pinkett Smith told NPR, "I was like: Why don't we talk about this more often? Why is it such a secret of what people go through?"


While Pinkett Smith is well aware that simply watching a TV show isn't going to change someone's life, she remains hopeful that the show could at least play some small role in helping viewers facilitate change in their own lives. "I want to be part of that journey," she told NPR.

Here's the one topic Red Table Talk struggled to navigate

"Red Table Talk" has seen Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris embrace the show's ethos of candid openness by touching on the kind of topics that usually go unaddressed on television. From Banfield-Norris opening up about overcoming substance abuse to Pinkett Smith revealing her own battle with adult film addiction –there's nothing these women won't discuss.


However, in a January 2019 interview with NPR, Pinkett Smith revealed that the trio had been struggling to figure out the best way to approach one particular topic: infidelity. "We're looking at different doctors and different specialists to come and talk about infidelity, you know, and how to actually produce it, and who will be willing to come and talk about experiences of infidelity," said Pinkett Smith, whose marriage to Will Smith has often come under the microscope. 

According to Pinkett Smith, she wanted any discussion of cheating to delve far deeper than "sex-crazed men who don't know how to control themselves." Later, in June 2019, "Red Table Talk" debuted an episode focused on infidelity with couples therapist Esther Perel.


Jada Pinkett Smith would love to interview this dream guest on Red Table Talk

"Red Table Talk" has seen major stars join Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris at the titular table. However, if you're expecting Meghan Markle to appear as a guest and perhaps discuss how she and Prince Harry really feel about their lives after leaving the royal family, don't hold your breath.


While Pinkett Smith told BANG Showbiz that she'd love for Markle to be a guest on "Red Table Talk," the host revealed she's not once to force appearances for ratings, as doing so would run counter to the organic nature of the show (via Rolling Out). "The red table is for everybody, but at a certain time," Pinkett Smith said. She continued, explaining, "So even for me personally, I never go, 'I really wanna have ... you know, Meghan Markle on the show.' It doesn't work like that." 

Though Pinkett Smith would welcome Markle to her show with open arms, the host made it clear to BANG Showbiz that such an appearance will only happen if and when Markle finds herself willing to open up and put it all on the table — pun intended. 


Red Table Talk was originally just a hobby for Jada Pinkett Smith

When "Red Table Talk" creator Jada Pinkett Smith first envisioned televising the frank discussions she'd been having with daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, she imagined the project would a fun hobby — not an incredibly popular, ongoing talk show that would eclipse her career as an actress. 


"I did not expect this kind of response and this kind of success with 'Red Table Talk,' but it's the one [part of my career] that I'm most passionate about," Pinkett Smith told Fast Company. However, while she never intended for "Red Table Talk" to take career in an unforeseen direction, Pinkett Smith revealed she couldn't be more thrilled with the show's success. "This is the thing I want to do," the star told Fast Company.

While Pinkett Smith hasn't closed the door on her acting career, she admitted to Fast Company that "Red Table Talk" has certainly refocused her priorities. "['Red Table Talk' is] what I enjoy most," Smith revealed. She continued, saying, "In this part of my life, it's like [you] just do what you love."


This is the surprising reason Jada Pinkett Smith thinks Red Table Talk caught fire

"Red Table Talk" was never supposed to launch a brand new career for Jada Pinkett Smith — who lives an insanely glamorous life with her husband, "Independence Day" star Will Smith. As the actress told Television Business International, the talk show was initially nothing more than a personal project. "It wasn't my day job — it was my passion project," Pinkett Smith revealed. "And then it turned into my day job."


Speaking with Fast Company, Pinkett Smith admitted she never predicted her personal endeavor would become so popular. Theorizing about why people seemed to connect with the show, the star said, "I think people, in their own lives, are wanting a safe place where they can put the mask down and just go, 'OK, can I just have a real conversation?'" 

According to Pinkett Smith, putting her own mask down hasn't always been easy. The host told Fast Company, "That's part of my work on 'Red Table Talk' for me [...] being OK [with] and embracing that more vulnerable side of myself, because usually in the public I have given more of the harder shell Jada."

Jada Pinkett Smith was fearful of exploiting a Red Table Talk guest

Perhaps the most personal episode of "Red Table Talk" took place in March 2019, when Jada Pinkett Smith invited viewers to the table to learn the untold truth of Jordyn Woods. At the time, Woods was at the center of allegations reporting that she'd hooked up with a pregnant Khloe Kardashian's partner Tristan Thompson. However, while Woods had famously been BFFs with Kylie Jenner before the scandal, the Kardashian-Jenner clan wasn't the only famous family in Woods' life. 


According to People, Will Smith first met Woods' father, John Woods, while starring on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and remained close to him until Wood's death in 2017. However, when Jordyn Woods approached Pinkett Smith about sharing her side of the story on "Red Table Talk," the host was initially reluctant. "It actually wasn't something I wanted to do because it was very close [to home]," Pinkett Smith told People

In an interview with Metro UK, Pinkett Smith revealed, "I really wanted to see if someone else would do the interview because I also didn't want it to feel exploitative." Fortunately for both Woods and Pinkett Smith, the interview was well-received. 

How Red Table Talk helped Adrienne Banfield-Norris overcome negativity and find freedom

While "Red Table Talk" was the cumulative result of years of self-reflection by Jada Pinkett Smith, the show also wound up having a positive impact on her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. 

Speaking with Essence, Banfield-Norris revealed that — while the raw, unfiltered truths she, her daughter, and granddaughter share over the red table may be eye-opening for viewers — the conversations often feel like an old hat for trio. "This is stuff we've been living with," Banfield-Norris told Essence. She continued, saying, "We've been in a seven-year transformation, so these are old truths that we're willing to share."


Admitting it took "a lot of work" to get to a place where she felt willing to share, Banfield-Norris said learning to be vulnerable was difficult due to the generation in which she was raised. "I come from a world of judgement," Banfield-Norris told Essence. She continued, revealing, "It was difficult for me to let that go, but that's what the 'Red Table' has done for me. It's given me a freedom and kind of released me from all of that concern about what other people think of me."

Jada Pinkett Smith has had her husband on the show

Jada Pinkett Smith and her hubby Will aren't shy about discussing their most intimate relationship details. In 2018, she brought Will on as a guest on "Red Table Talk" in a two-episode series titled "Becoming Mr. & Mrs. Smith," along with her co-hosts: daughter Willow Smith, and mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris, aka Gammy. 


In the episode, Jada said she found out she was expecting her first child, Jaden Smith, with Will two years into dating. Jada confessed she never wanted to get married and said she felt a lot of "pressure" as a young actress in Hollywood. "I didn't know what to do," she shared with her family. They carried on with a lavish wedding, though Jada had wanted a small affair. She was three months pregnant at the time, and reflected that it was a "horrible" day. "I was so upset that I had to have a wedding," she said before continuing, "I went crying down the freaking aisle."

On the other hand, Will shared that he'd been dreaming about his wedding day since he was five years old. "There's wasn't a day in my life that I wanted anything other than being married and having a family," he said. 


The Smith family (sort of) addressed Will's Oscar slap on the show

Jada Pinkett Smith's "Red Table Talk" often tackles heavy topics. And during the Season 5 premiere episode, which aired on April 20, 2022, the show did what it does best — speak the truth. The episode addressed the Oscar slap heard around the world a month after Jada's husband Will slapped comedian and Oscars host Chris Rock during the live telecast following a joke Rock made about his wife onstage. Rock compared Jada's new buzz cut to the look rocked by actress Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane" (via CNN). Jada shaved her head in 2021 following her alopecia diagnosis, which causes hair loss and is a sensitive topic for the actress, per People.


Rather than have the hostesses address the incident verbally, however, title cards did all the talking before the pre-taped segment. "Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focused on deep healing," read the title card. "Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls. Until then the table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring and healing testimonies like that of our incredibly impressive first guest."

Only time will tell when Jada will speak out in her own words.