Jada Pinkett was born on September 18, 1971, in Baltimore, Maryland. The daughter of a contractor Robsol, Jr. and nurse Adrienne Banfield, Pinkett attended the Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager, where one of her classmates and friends was the late rap artist Tupac Shakur.
In 1991, she made her first break with a role in the sitcom A Different World. She has also starred in major motion pictures, including The Nutty Professor with co-star Eddie Murphy, and Spike Lee’s highly controversial Bamboozled. In 1997, she married rapper and actor Will Smith.
They have two children, Jaden and Willow, and Pinkett Smith is stepmother to Willard “Trey” Smith III, Will’s son from a previous marriage.
She had some fun with a cameo as a movie-going murder victim in “Scream 2” (1998), the second outing in Wes Craven’s horror film series, but turned around to give a dramatic supporting turn as an enterprising reporter who views the death sentence of a suspected drug smuggler (Joaquin Phoenix) imprisoned in Borneo as a story of international importance in “Return to Paradise” (1998).
Her performance was honoured with another nomination from the Image Awards. After a co-starring role opposite L.L. Cool J in the little-seen dark comedy “Kingdom Come” (2001), Pinkett Smith diversified her acting resume with a shift to the action genre in the high-profile sequels from 20-03,
“The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” Pinkett Smith launched her music career in 2002, when she helped create the metal band Wicked Wisdom, for which she is a singer and songwriter. Smith also created a production company, in addition to authoring a book, published in 2004.
Pinkett Smith voiced Gloria the Hippo in “Madagascar” (2005), Disney’s animated adventure about four escaped zoo animals, and the actress was underutilized in “Reign over Me” (2007), where she played the overly sensible wife of a discontented but successful dentist (Don Cheadle) in post-9/11 New York.
Pinkett Smith made a bold move in a remarkably staid update of George Cukor’s 1939 classic “The Women” (2008), playing a lesbian author with a crush on a friend’s husband’s “other woman” (Eva Mendes), but “The Secret Life of Bees” (2008), an adaptation of The New York Times’ bestseller which Pinkett Smith executive produced, fared better with critics.
Together with her husband, Pinkett Smith co-produced the successful remake of the 1984 feature “The Karate Kid” (2010), starring their son, Jaden, in the title role, alongside Jackie Chan as his friend and mentor, Mr. Han.
Pinkett Smith has also recently founded a publishing company called Pretty Smart Books, which she is hoping will print a good deal of stories that would have not otherwise gotten the chance to hit bookstore shelves.
She also sang on husband Will Smith’s album, Born to Reign. Pinkett Smith plans to release a yet untitled solo album, which will allow her to explore the world of music. She is an ardent supporter of Barack Obama, Pinkett Smith also fronts the heavy metal band Wicked Wisdom.