Jada Pinkett Smith

Active - 1993 - 2021  |   Born - Sep 18, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Thriller

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Biography by AllMovie

Standing merely five feet tall, Jada Pinkett Smith is known for her high-energy charm, receiving attention for the spunky role she played in her friend Keenan Ivory Wayans' Low Down Dirty Shame in 1994. She was born on September 18, 1971, in Baltimore, MD, where she grew up and went on to study dance at Baltimore School for the Arts. She then attended North Carolina School of Arts, but dropped out when Wayans found her an agent to launch her acting career.

Real notice came when she worked on Bill Cosby's series A Different World starting in 1991. Thereafter she appeared in several films including her more serious roles as the single mother in Menace II Society and the girlfriend in Jason's Lyric (1994). Eddie Murphy's 1996 rendition of The Nutty Professor brought her back to comedy, and the extensive hype around the film allowed her fame to swell. In 1997, she married fellow actor (and former rap star) Will Smith; the following year, she appeared in Woo and Return to Paradise, and gave birth to son Jadan.

Pinkett Smith made a cameo in Spike Lee's Bamboozled in 2000, and then returned to a serious lead role in Doug McHenry's Kingdom Come (2001) with Whoopi Goldberg, which was shot while she was pregnant with daughter Willow.

Her film career later ramping up with roles in the two Matrix sequels, the Tom Cruise thriller Collateral, and with vocal work in the Madagascar series, Pinkett Smith made the leap to television as a compassion head of nursing on TNT's Hawthorne, which debuted in 2009 and ran for three seasons. An ardent supporter of Barack Obama, Pinkett Smith also fronts the heavy metal band Wicked Wisdom, which released their first CD in 2006, and performed on the Ozzfest tour in 2009.

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  • Named after Jada Rowlands (As the World Turns; The Doctors), her mom's favorite soap actress.
  • Rap-music legend Tupac Shakur was a high-school classmate and friend; they once made an amateur video in which she danced and he lip-synched to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand."
  • Runner-up in Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International contest in 1988.
  • First met future husband Will Smith in 1990 when she auditioned for a role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Lead singer for the rock/metal band Wicked Wisdom, which opened for Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004 and performed on the Ozzfest tour in 2005. The group released its first CD in 2006.
  • A supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, she and her husband hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo when Obama won the award in 2009.
  • In 2010, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for Hawthorne.