The Therapy for Black Girls podcast is your space to explore mental health, personal development and all of the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves. I'm your host, Dr. Joy Hardan Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. And I can't wait for you to join the conversation every Wednesday. This is a Therapy for Black Girls podcast on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
Take good care. Hey, everybody, this is Jake Brennan, host of Disgraced Land in the 27 Club. I want to talk to you about another podcast that produced called Blood on the Tracks, the Phil Spector story, Blood on the Tracks. The Phil Spector story is a 10 episode. Look at the madness and genius of record producer Phil Spector. With Phil's recent death in the news, blood on the tracks has become all the more relevant. Listen.
The blood on the tracks, the Phil Spector story on the I Heart radio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Pay fam Jada Pinkett Smith, and this is the Red Tablecloth podcast, all your favorite episodes from the Facebook Watch show in audio produced by Westbrooke Audio and I Heart Radio, please don't forget to write and review on Apple podcast. What's up?
This is Will Smith. I haven't been in this seat before. This is my first read table take over. Something big happened and I want to share it with you.
I found myself in a bitter, painful feud after 30 years of not speaking. There's nobody on Earth that would say I hurt them that bad. I sat with the fresh prince, his Aunt Viv.
I just wanted to know one thing. Why?
Psychologist Dr. Ramani helps me figure out how I got here. You took psychological punches from deep childhood wounds. My father beat my mother to the key things I've learned. That's not who I want to be. How to heal broken relationships. Sound, this could be good here, I can tell you that right there doesn't work, we think might check my checking my mic, check my checking my, my, my, my checking my mic check my checking my.
OK, good game. Doesn't do it like that.
OK, thank you for doing that. Thank you. Well thanks for having this conversation. I think it's going to help more people and. I hope that's what we do here when we expose ourselves ourselves in the name of helping others. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
I haven't been in this seat before. How's that feel? Little red table take over.
I brought myself to the red table to talk about something that has really troubled me for nearly 30 years. Joining me is Dr. Ramani. She's a brilliant clinical psychologist and a trusted friend of the Red Table. You know, this year was the 30th anniversary of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
And my painful situation was it was around the fresh prince.
I had a feud, a war of words that I'd been in with someone that I never thought would get resolved. And really, until recently, I didn't know how to even begin the process of reconciliation. I really couldn't see myself celebrating without. Really dealing with this 30 years is your whole life.
That is that's a heavy weight to carry at twenty one. I felt like I was on top of the world. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was a hit. Now, this is a story all about how my life and three.
Janet Hubert was cast as my Aunt Viv.
She was thirty four years old, an accomplished actress and dancer who had come to the show from Broadway.
At first we were all just one big happy family.
Those Friday night tapings were a lot of fun and they will get wrapped up.
The audience would get wrapped up well and it was awesome. But as time went on, our relationship soured and I handled it poorly. He was young, he was out of control in his own way. He had all this power. I was loud and it was always 20 dudes from Philly banging music.
There was a need for me to have professionalism on the set because I was used to it. Well, honey, listen to me.
I wasn't sensitive and ultimately it felt like I wasn't kind. I would sit in my car some nights and not want to go to work. I felt like Janet hated me and hated doing the show. The misconception of me was that I was hoti difficult. Wanted to be the star of the show.
Things got more tense and the decision was made to reduce her role. They offered me this really bad deal in the third season too I think sort of put me in my place. So I said no. In season four, Janet was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Janet blamed me. Then our private disagreements went public.
They went after me like red meat.
On a radio interview, I said that Janet wanted it to be the Aunt Viv of Bel Air show. Over the years, the war of words escalated. In twenty eighteen, Janet released this video Will.
Make no mistake. This video is for you directly that will not go to my grave feeling that questions have been unanswered or misconceptions of me that you put there have never been dealt with. Nowhere does it ever say I was fired. The only person who ever said that, sweetie, was you, the vomit that you spewed. I still think the one thing I regret in my life was ever taking that role to have to have worked with someone like you.
I wish you had thought about my family. I wish you had thought about the consequences of your actions.
Oh, I've never actually seen that. That's the first time I've ever seen that. Wow. I never watched it. You know, people I said to me, you know, don't don't watch that, OK?
We had a cast reunion. I wanted us to seek healing.
And I knew the first phase of that healing was me understanding what she experienced. So I asked Janet to sit down with me and we sat down.
Dr. Romney was was on set with us that day in case Janet or I needed some assistance to be able to make our way through after twenty seven plus years. This is the this is the first time that we ever sat down to this.
Thank you very much. Read anything at all. Let me know. OK, thank you. Do you like fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies? Do you love wholesome hetero normative lifestyle? And do you like pretending that menstrual cycles just don't exist?
Then you'll hate tampons, rock. Tampon Rock is a scripted comedy podcast, kind of like friends, except gay and with black people. So actually really not like friends, right?
But it is about friends. They have a band.
They live in Oakland also. It's a musical, but not a musical like you're thinking of Chicago. Shout out. And what I love is that these songs in Tampon Rock typically set up the next scene. You know what? I want to show and roll the clip.
The roof is filled with lesbians.
I think she got a period. So there you have it. We just wrapped season one. So check out all these great songs and more when you benge tampon binge all the episodes now and I heart radio app, Apple podcasts or whatever, you listen to podcasts.
Have you ever felt like sobbing in the middle of the street lately? Oh, all the time. Well, let me tell you what. There is nothing harder than being a 20 something living in New York City that is so true. Well, we don't really have a solution for you. We're here to talk about it with you.
Welcome to the podcast. Crying in public, we cover everything from relationships to politics, all of our crazy stories as college students. It's literally insane.
Honestly, we're really not qualified to give advice, but our podcast guys hopefully will know a little more than we do. There's literally nothing off limits here. We have no boundaries. So welcome to our podcast. Crying in Public Life Happens. Might as well cry about it. Season two coming soon. On February 4th, I heard Radio's number one for podcast. It's easy to see why I'm crying in public on the radio app or wherever you get your podcast.
My eyes glow like a raccoon. Yes, they sometimes look spectacular.
So better for you to bring a silly. This has been tough. Yeah. For sure. Well. Has it been tough for you? Yes, it has. Yeah. Only you know and I know what the truth is about all of this. I just want to know one thing. Why Why so far you guys went so far? I lost so much. I think it would be helpful for me.
Like, I don't know your story.
I know. I know.
So talk me through because I was having a different experience as the oldest woman on that set. You know, there is that respect level that. I just needed to have of being an older woman and a black woman. We had our issues. Mm hmm. I've been banished. And they said it was you who who banished me because I didn't laugh at your jokes.
Then they ordered me to stay in my room. I couldn't come out on the stage and I wasn't unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to everybody because I didn't know who to trust. And the whole negotiation thing was messed up.
Yeah, you guys offered me something I had to turn down and I was like, why?
And you did you know that they offered me 10 weeks of work and said, you can't work anywhere else.
I didn't know specifically what the offer was 10 weeks and I knew that two months turned down the offer.
How do you survive with a mortgage and a new business and a new baby and a husband who wasn't working at the time?
How do you survive so much of what you said? Just destroyed and everywhere I went, but he just beat me up. We lost our house. I lost everything, reputation, everything.
You took all that away from me with your words, you know, words can kill, you know, those words. Calling a black woman difficult in Hollywood is the kiss of death. And it's hard enough being a dark skinned black woman in this business. Angry black woman. That's all I got bitter.
But what you didn't realize either that I was going through a lot at home, right? You can know. You guys did know very abusive marriage. I had a new baby.
He was three months old, so I felt like there was no sanctuary anywhere from me. Family disowned me. The black community disowned me because he didn't want to bring it up.
It's like, what about that freshman's thing? What about Wildsmith? What about all of you know, it just never goes away.
Black people beat my ass. They beat my son's ass, somebody smashed a cookie in my son's face and said, your mother is a bitch. People send me hateful Instagram's. Aren't you dead yet? I love Will. Why don't you just die? It was hard. It was hard. But I promised my dad before he left this earth.
And, you know, you lost your dad.
I would clear my name because it's his name. My family said, you've ruined our name.
But you're the big star. You know, I'm just a little black, Mitch. I just need some water. You want to walk off? Yeah, I do. OK. Don't to celebrate the. Don't you owe me? Oh. It's just heavy, it's just heavy and it's it's funny, the my body. It's like, oh, my body's shaking a little. It's like I'm trying to put some some logic to it, but the sensation I feel is.
That's not. Who I want to be, and it's not. How I want to make people feel my whole life and career is centered on aggressively trying to make people feel the opposite of that. OK. All right.
So you've got an interesting place. I don't want other people to feel this way. And she's you know. But let's just stay for one minute with your feeling, OK? Just give me my shrink moment.
That's a lot to have come out. Yeah, I felt it. You know, I felt that energy and I'm not you, OK? And part of part of listening is giving yourself space to process your own emotion when someone's coming at you like that. So let's take a moment there. How are you feeling?
So. It's. My my father was violent in my house. So a part of the whole creation of Wildsmith, the joking, fun, silly, was to make sure that my father was entertained enough not to hurt my mother or anybody in the house.
OK. Right. So that plus a childhood space, yeah, of inadequacy and. Once when someone comes at me like that, the little the little boy is fully in that space and I would perform and dance and tell jokes. OK, all right. People laughing and people having fun was my defense mechanism. I realized the other side of it was, if I cut you bad enough, you wouldn't be able to respond.
OK, so but people laughing for you then is safety laughing? Safety was laughing. If he was glad he wasn't lashing out, he wasn't hitting my mother. OK, right.
I can imagine on the set of the Fresh Prince 30 years ago, you just kept cracking the jokes more and more and more.
It's like Janet was Juilliard trained. Yeah, Janet can sing. She can dance, she can act. She's brilliant. And she was in the parental figure. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Right.
So my little boy desperately needed her approval. OK, but the dynamic you describe with dad was also it was not just approval, but it was how do I keep myself safe, keep myself hard game to play. Yes. OK, and so you were balancing both of those here. I need to feel safe and I need the approval. But there were other people. This is your real family. But all those wounds were getting triggered and so you weren't able to be your best self.
It's really interesting.
I just I just noticed now in this moment that I fell right back into my family dynamic, right with my television family, that I was the jokester and I was playing and I was laughing and I needed everybody to be joyful so I could feel safe. That's right.
So now we're understanding how you feel, but there's a lot of hurt there. There's a lot of resentment there.
Did you feel hurt by God?
Yes, absolutely. I felt. I felt threatened. That makes sense, I felt threatened at that point in my career, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air really saved my life, right? So I had I had a few years in the music business, but I hadn't lost all of my money. I didn't pay taxes. I was in debt to the IRS. I had just flopped an album, you know, and the Fresh Prince represented life.
So on the little boy in the level with Janet, I needed Mommy to think I was great. And then once I realized that she didn't, the the my dragon woke up.
OK, you become that little boy in any system that feels like a family. Got to stay on top of that.
I just realized it's like, oh, shoot, that was the family dynamic again, you know, so that's the trigger. And you feel it in here and the problems. We feel it physically. So it feels as real as that. We were four years. Absolutely.
And that's what gets turned on. So the question is, how do you respond to that?
Yeah, thank you for sharing that with me. That's new information for me. I I didn't. I know that I was twenty one years old. Yeah, and as asleep and unconscious. As a human being could possibly be. And it is so obvious, looking with these eyes, everything was a threat to me. Why was I not you, the world, I had a dream and I was a scared little boy. The reason I got into the business, everything I was trying to do, like I was so driven by fear and jokes and comedy and all that, you was how you live.
I just wear my 20 year old eyes. Could only see that I felt like you hated me. I hated what she did. I just hate it what you did. You took my. Career away of 30 something years, you just went too far when you were younger, and I know you always had to win.
I didn't realize the power of your words, of my words and what that would you know, how that would affect you and went way too far and. Said things to people that wouldn't know how to hold that information and then once you put it in, then the machine grabs it, then they start putting their own spin on it. It was all way too far on my hand. When I look back now, it's you know, it's obvious that you were having a hard time.
I have children. Yeah, I've been divorced and I have a second marriage and, you know, so it's like I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle. That it was for you just to show up every day, but you get tired of fighting. I don't want to fight, you know, that teenage our song, you know, I don't want to fight for no time for letting go.
Yeah, absolutely. My heart is just tired. I was so tired from all of this. Thirty years of of shunning, yeah, closure, forgiveness. Move forward, stop them from all the chatter. Enough is enough. I've served a 30 year life sentence for sure. The person I want to be is someone who protects you, not someone that unleashes dogs on you. I appreciate that. I'm beaten to death. I could not do a 30 year celebration of this show and not celebrate you celebrate your contribution to the show and celebrate your contribution to my life.
Coming to you. You know. You still feel like my like I'm little, yeah, you still might have you might have been so weird.
You know, we've said such hateful things about each other. I'm sorry and I'm sorry to be good. All right, baby boy, I appreciate you. You're always a baby boy. I'm older than you.
I need my own round table tabletop.
I never thought you'd make a great switchboard operator or seltzer man or professional royal mistress if old timey jobs are your jam.
We've got a podcast just for you.
I'm Helen Hong and I'm at Beat and we host the new podcast job Sulit, taking a look at jobs that used to be a thing and now not so much.
My Heart Radio's number one for podcasts, but don't take our word for it. Fine job salute on the I Heart radio app or wherever you get your podcasts.
So everybody is talking about this information right now, and rightly so, but did you know that some of the first people to raise the alarm about the threat this information poses to our democracy and our communities or black women, but their voices were largely ignored. Women's voices are constantly left out of the narrative.
I'm Bridget Todd and on my podcast, there are no girls on the Internet.
I am cover all the ways women have shaped what it means to be online. From bogus covid curious to kuhnen conspiracy called disinformation disproportionately impacts women and communities of color.
Not only are we the ones most impacted are also the ones trying to fight it on disinformed.
A new limited series from There are no girls on the Internet. We'll hear from the women activists, researchers, organizers and culture creators on the frontlines of the fight against disinformation.
Listen to there are no girls on the Internet on the Hurt radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. New episodes dropping January 19. I've got to say that there was something that really hit me there is that I see the hurt of two people there, OK, but you didn't defend yourself.
You definitely said, listen, this was the story. I was young, but you kept bringing it back to and I said hurtful things.
You kept acknowledging your role in it instead of just selling your narrative. Right. Because otherwise it becomes too feuding there. Yes, absolutely.
I'm not arrogant enough to think that my actions and behavior were perfect. Yes, correct. My actions and behavior were.
Flawed and hurtful. Probably there's nobody on Earth that would say I hurt them that bad.
And so that idea of the dragon, did you even know you had that dragon in you at 21?
No recognition of that dynamic whatsoever. At twenty one, I was trying. To be the biggest star in the world. Right, right, I was doing an album, a movie and the TV show every year.
Why did you want to be the biggest star in the world?
The same little boy that's saying that same thing. It was like. I had a I had a girlfriend who had cheated on me right before that, and everything in my creation and design of Will Smith was to be loved and to be safe. Right.
See, that's it. Because I asked you, were you hurt by Janet all those years ago? And you went right to. I was threatened. I was threatened. You I felt like, you know, and I wonder how much for you threaten and hurt our experience the same way when I feel it in my body.
My father was military.
So. I don't know if it's my actual constitution or if it's learned, but safety is first and. Safety also extends to. Money, hmm, interesting. Why is that? Well, if you have money my my twenty one year old money. Yeah, yeah. Women won't cheat on you. Oh, OK.
So it's one more place to if you're trying to find all these outside ways to protect your stuff myself. Right.
So if I'm rich and if I'm famous and if I'm the best, then Mommy and daddy won't be mad.
Interesting. OK, everybody will be safe and I can't get hurt.
OK, so you now understand that to be a key element of your psychology. Remember this? Well, safety is the most elemental need a human being has other than food, air and water.
OK, we need safety. You got robbed of some of that. Yeah. That's not how a child's life should be. Safety should be built into the model.
That kind of of disapproval is the. Central greatest pain in my life and from from women to female disapproval, because I think because of my dynamic with my mother is as a little boy, my my father. Beat my mother and I couldn't protect her, right? Right, female disapproval is like unbearable and my body can't handle it.
Well, I'm hearing that female disapproval is the loss of love. Absolutely. And that's I mean, that's catastrophic, right? What in your life continues to trigger that unsafe feeling because that's your wound? Well, that's is absolutely my my central wound.
In the last three years, I've been seeing it and confronting it more effectively.
My relationship with Willow has been a major part of healing.
Willow is the only female relationship I've ever had that I didn't mess up. That's beautiful. I mean, you feel that about your daughter, right? And I'm sure there are aspects from Willow's point of view she will say, no, you messed up stuff like that, you know, but in my mind.
I did right by her. My relationship with Jade. I was going to ask you, has your relationship with Jada triggered that lack of safety where you feel like you had to go into that that protected? Yes, absolutely. Like, do you still have this need to get Jada's approval even?
This house is called her lake Tuesday.
Why did you name it that? Because I wanted it to be a gift to Jada for her approval.
Of course, that was a psychological crash.
And burn also always is always a you know, success is a suit of armor.
We put it on to protect ourselves from ourselves and from the world, because really the win would be if this house was called our lake.
Yeah, exactly. And what I have realized, the real thing that everybody is looking for is the. Experience of love, and that can be in any house and how much money, you know, that you know, and we don't believe that because as you say that and you talk about money and, you know, a lot of people thinking, like, if I can only give them the right gift, if I could show my old man I made it, whatever it is.
But I, I have, you know, firsthand comprehension that there's not enough money to make your relationship go right. That's right. That's right.
You do get that you're OK. But as you remember, safety's an inside game like you.
You know, Jada can't make you feel safe. You can't make it. This is it has to be your sense of safety. There's a point at which you got to put the load down. You know, you have to say, I understand the where the wounds come from. Now the wounds are mine. So you let go in some ways, you sort of start letting go of dad, you start letting go of mom, and you realize that these become triggers, but that you are the only person who can regulate those those feelings.
That's it. Here's the thing.
Most people's childhood wounds, it's that they weren't listened to. Absolutely.
You got to this place where you could list a 30 year journey to where you could finally listen. You be the psychologist for a minute. What do you think of the three most important parts of listening?
The the major, major part is let them complete their story, no debate, there's no deal in love.
That's right. That's right. That's right. That's right. No debate. You're just going to listen thoroughly to what their story is. It seems really simple, but it's huge. You've got to ask questions about the other person's story. I would say that's number one. And the thing that Jada and I have that is really magical is after they tell you the story is still not your turn to repeat it back.
That's fantastic. Yes.
And then validate the part. That's true. Wow. That must be there. Must feel terrible. I get I understand.
And it's just really about never gaslighting someone else's story. Their stories, their story. It's real. Is serving a function for them.
Let them have it. Let them share it. You can receive it. It's not a threat to you. And if it is a threat to you, then you need to go do go and get your house in order.
Exactly what is so real. I'm actually about to say something very idiotic. I was going to say, are you familiar with Muhammad Ali? I'm sorry about that. I have to do this on my face. You're familiar with the Muhammad Ali girl you got, man?
No idea. Yes, you are, sir.
Sir, he knew how to take a punch. Yeah, absolutely.
What you did with Janet was you took psychological punches one after the other, OK?
And that capacity was something Ali had to cultivate. Right. Lean back on the ropes. And in some ways that almost that would exhaust his opponent. In this case, it helped her release her pain.
But we know how Ali trained. I need to know how Will Smith trained to learn how to take a psychological punch.
So the first thing. Is recognizing that the perception of it as a punch is not real, OK, good for you, because that's that's already you know, you already got a PhD right there.
Like that's what's actually happening is someone you care about is hurt and they're trying to figure out how to feel better. A person has been injured and they're desperately seeking some hint of loving kindness. Right. So. There was no punching actually happening. OK, good for you.
And the second part is the recognition that it's not my turn yet, but this is Janet's turn.
That's the hard part for people, because Janet asks you why, you know, she asked you for your why. And instead of using that as an opening to talk about, I was a kid.
I was I was at whatever. You didn't do that.
You sent it back to her. I'm holding space here for you. I want you to share. I want to hear from you. I want to understand.
I've learned through marriage counseling, through parenting, through thousands of hours of therapy. The other person always goes first. Right. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
And I made my little my little phrase, love is is love. Listen. Understand, validate the parts that you agree with your dad if you try to go first when someone's in an emotional space. So I have trained myself and I have the firm belief that you have to be able to withstand someone else's truth. That's the punch.
Yes, absolutely. And the key there is that when you can hold space and bear witness to less hurt, people are going back out into the world and less likely to do more damage than absolutely that.
Right there is everything. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for opening up. I actually appreciate your vulnerability today. Thank you. I know that's not easy.
So now it's I'm trying to just get comfortable in that space. I trust that that's where the kind of connection and the kind of love that I want to experience in this lifetime. I know it doesn't come from me defending this phantom character. No, it doesn't.
Thank you so much. Thank you, Janet. Thank you. I'll text you in a minute. Thank you, Jada, for let me take over the red table for a little while. This is fantastic. You know, I think I might start doing this more often.
I cannot tell you how. Unbelievable. And wonderful, it feels. I'm so happy that's behind me. I'm so happy that we were able to make that reconciliation. It's a wound that's been healed.
I'll take a good. Everybody's happy. Is everyone joyous? As everyone let their narrative go, right? Yes. To join the red table, talk family and become a part of the conversation, follow us at Facebook. Dot com slash red tabletop. Thanks for listening to this episode of Red Tape Talk podcast produced by Facebook. Watch Westbrooke Audio and I heart radio as girls who find themselves crying on the streets every other weekend and always thinking of the main character.
You know, being a young woman can be pretty stressful sometimes on our show crying in public, we cover everything from relationships, politics to all our crazy stories about college students in New York City.
With us, nothing's off limits on our podcast. Crying in public life happens minus one. Cry about it. Season two coming soon on February 4th. Listen to Crying in public on Apple podcast on your Hurt Radio app or wherever you get your podcast.
Did Abraham Lincoln's deep depressions make him a better president to lead the U.S. through civil war? Why did Marilyn Monroe's death by suicide coincide with an upswing in her movie career? I'm Dr. Gail Saltz and on my podcast, Season two of Personality, I'll be joined by amazing experts to delve into the minds of famous historical figures. If you want to know what really made exceptional, original and genius people, tick and take a listen to Season two personality every Monday on the I Heart radio app, on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.