Jada Koren Pinkett Smith is an actress, singer and businesswoman who is the wife of acclaimed Hollywood actor Will Smith. She was born on September 18, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland to a high school student named Adrienne Banfield-Jones. She was raised by her mother and maternal grandmother Marion Banfield, who was a social worker. Pinkett had a close relationship with both women, who encouraged her to pursue performing arts. As a child, Pinkett learned piano, tap dance and ballet. After high school, she attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, majoring in dance and theatre. Here she met the future rapper Tupac Shakur, and the two became close friends. Pinkett graduated from Baltimore school in 1989, after which she studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
In order to pursue her acting career, Pinkett moved to Los Angeles. Here she landed her first television role in 1990, in an episode of the sitcom “True Colors” and a role on the NBC show “A Different World” created by the comedian Bill Cosby. She also had guest appearances on other shows such as Doogie Howser, M.D. and 21 Jump Street. Her role in the 1994 action comedy film “A Low Down Dirty Shame” received critical acclaim. The same year, she met actor and rapper Will Smith on the set of Smith’s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. She auditioned for the role of his girlfriend but didn’t receive the part. The two became friends however, and soon started dating. They were married on New Year’s Eve 1997 in a small private ceremony. They have two children – a son named Jaden and a daughter named Willow, both of whom have entered showbiz at an early age in various capacities.
In 1996, Pinkett co-starred with acclaimed comedian Eddie Murphy in the film “The Nutty Professor” which was a massive hit. She also starred in the movie “Set It Off” along with Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise where her performance was especially noted and praised. She also featured in Spike Lee’s controversial film “Bamboozled” and made a small appearance in the film Scream 2. One of her best known roles is that of “Niobe” in the films “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” starring Keanu Reeves, sequels to the hit 1999 film “The Matrix”. She also played the role of Sonji Roi, wife of the world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, in the film “Ali” starring Will Smith as Ali. Jada Pinkett has also ventured into direction (The Human Contract, 2008) and production (Hawthorne, 2009). Her latest venture is the starring role in the upcoming crime drama “Gotham”.
Pinkett has also ventured into music; in 2002 she formed a metal band named “Wicked Wisdom” for which she is also the lead singer. The band toured with renowned artists such as Britney Spears and their first album showed potential. Pinkett runs her own music company by the name of “100% Womon Productions” and also has her own fashion label by the name of “Maja”. She published a children’s book titled “Girls Hold Up This World” in 2004 to inspire her daughter and other young girls to fulfill their potential. She is also part owner of the NBA team “Philadelphia 76ers” along with her husband Will Smith. The couple also founded the “Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation” in Baltimore, Maryland to help urban youth and provides grants and donations to worthy causes. The actress lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, California.