Jada Pinkett Smith made headlines of her own last month by defending young stars like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift who find themselves in the headlines.
Now the 41-year-old actress and mother-of-two says the headlines her Facebook essaygenerated have caused her to give the issue of bullying young celebs a second thought.
“It’s been interesting because I started with the idea of bullying but, I tell you something, I’ve actually expanded my ideas on that after seeing all the press on this particular subject,” Pinkett Smith, the wife of actor Will Smith, said today on “Good Morning America.”
“A lot of it had to what I was seeing in the press about Taylor Swift, about Ms. [Quvenzhane] Wallis and Justin Bieber especially,” she told “GMA” of why she spoke out.
“I think we have to be very careful that we’re not creating prejudiced attitudes….that you can justify treating a person lesser than because of certain qualities,” Pinkett Smith said. “So the idea that Justin Bieber is young, famous and rich, so people go, ‘I don’t need to care about Justin Bieber. He’s Justin Bieber. He’s got the whole world.”
Pinkett Smith posted her essay, titled, “Are We Bullying Our Young Artists,” the same week in March that 19-year-old pop star Justin Bieber, a friend of Smith’s son, 14-year-old Jaden, made headlines for a string of altercations with paparazzi and a medical emergency that left him hospitalized.
In the essay, tweeted by Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, Pinkett Smith writes, “Do we feel as though we can say and do what we please without demonstrating any responsibility simply because they are famous? Is it okay to continually attack and criticize a famous 19 year old who is simply trying to build a life, exercise his talents while figuring out what manhood and fame is all about as he carries the weight of supporting his family…?”
“[It's] dehumanizing them because of their celebrity,” she said on “GMA.”
Pinkett Smith’s own children have put themselves in the spotlight – daughter, Willow, 12, had a pop hit with “Whip My Hair,” and son, Jaden, is rumored to be dating Kylie Jenner - but “The Matrix” star says she and her A-list husband leave it up to them to decide what to do.
“She said, ‘I think I just want to be 12,’” Pinkett Smith said, referring to Willow’s recent decision to turn down the lead role in the upcoming film adaptation of “Annie,” a role that later went to one of the young stars she stood up to defend, Quvenzhane Wallis.
“We said, ‘Great. Walk away,’” she said. “That’s what I love about my kids, that they are their own independent little people.”