Jada Pinkett Smith Sits Down With Child Brides in Heartbreaking New Red Table Talk
Jada Pinkett Smith will welcome child bride survivors to Red Table Talk next week for a heartbreaking talk about the lack of protection young girls can face.
In two PEOPLE exclusive clips for the Facebook Watch show, the 47-year-old actress, her daughter Willow, 18, and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris, 65, discuss the ramifications of forcing young girls into marriage — and how the practice continues to be legal in 48 American states.
“I don’t even remember being asked, ‘Do you want to marry this person? Should I call your mom?'” a survivor tells Pinkett Smith. “In the state of Nevada, they only require one parent to give consent in the form of a permission slip. My dad gave my consent for me.”
Willow expressed her shock, saying, “The thing that really baffles me is how is there no protection for these girls? If all you need is just one parent’s signature.”
Banfield Norris explained, “Well the expectation is that your parent is your protection. And if your parent is agreeing to it then…,” she said as she shrugged.
The survivor continued, “I ended up living the majority of my childhood with my dad. He was a part of this strict religious group. As soon as I got off the plane, my dad basically sat me down and said, ‘You can’t have sex outside of marriage and you’re getting married.’”
She added she was completely cut off from her mother, who was unaware of the peril her daughter was in. “I didn’t have any way of talking to my mom, I wasn’t allowed to talk to my mom,” she said.
“ I was 15,” the survivor continued. “And [the man she was forced to marry] was 28. And I was married to him that same night. And after that night, I was physically handed over to this man, who I’d just met that morning.”
“For all legal purposes, he was like my guardian. It was almost like I went from being a daughter to now a wife in one night,” she added.
This isn’t the first time the ladies of Red Table Talk have taken on challenging topics. On this week’s episode, Willow revealed she would be open to having a polyamorous relationship when they spoke about unconventional relationships.
“I couldn’t see myself in a quadruple, I mean, anything could happen,” Willow said. “Personally, male and female — that’s all I need.”
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“I love men and women equally. So I would definitely want one man and one woman,” she continued. “I feel like I could be polyfidelitous with those two people. I’m not the kind of person that is constantly looking for new sexual experiences. I focus a lot on the emotional connection, and I feel like if I were to find two people of the different genders that I really connected with and we had a romantic and sexual connection, I don’t feel like I would feel the need to try to go find more.”
While Willow expressed her openness to exploring unconventional relationships, she did explain, “If your intention is just to have sex all the time with whoever you want, that doesn’t sit well with me. That’s not aligned with my purpose.”
Red Table Talk airs Mondays on Facebook Watch.