Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals She Left The Thug Life Right As Tupac Entered (Video)
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith met Tupac Shakur at Baltimore School For The Arts in the mid-1980s. While Pinkett would graduate in 1989, Pac and his family relocated to Marin City, California in 1988. While Shakur paid his dues as a roadie, dancer, and eventual MC with Digital Underground, Jada made her way to Hollywood through her role on A Different World. During their newfound fame in the early ’90s, Pinkett and Pac remained close until his 1996 death.
However, that relationship is often misunderstood by the public. Appearing on Sway In The Morning, the Menace II Society, Set It Off, and Nutty Professor actress clarified that relationship and revealed some new details about those teenage years.
“I haven’t really told the whole story. One of the things that’s very interesting that I’ve never really said before is that when I first met [Tupac], when we first met, I was a drug dealer,” says Jada, after the 16:00 mark. “I won’t get into the details of it ’cause I’ma write a book about it, just to give you… like, that’s how we started then as I was coming out, something very bad happened to me. As I was coming out of the life, he was going more into the life.”
Tupac spoke openly about “dust kicker” days as a youth in some of his letters and interviews, as well as his song lyrics. Jada says that as her life changed, she grew increasingly concerned about her friend. “I’ve been having kind of an existential crisis around Pac because I was coming out [as] he was going in, and there was a point in which we met, and then we kind of were going our separate ways. And I just felt like, ‘Okay, God one day you’re going to do for Pac what you did for me, which is You saved me.’ And that just never happened for him. And so that is something that I am constantly having to confront.” She continues, “I think that that missing component that neither one of us have ever discussed because Pac and I’s relationship was about survival. That’s how it started. And I know that most people wanna always connect us in this romance thing, but that’s just because they don’t have the story. But it was based in survival, how we held each other down, you know what I’m saying? And when we have somebody that has your back when you feel like you’re nothing, that’s everything.”
Pinkett Smith says she believes the portrayals and accounts of romance are reaches. “I just decided that one little piece was important to share finally because it gives more insight to who we were that it wasn’t just about, ‘You have this cute girl and this cool guy they must have been in this romance.’ Nah. It wasn’t that at all. It was about survival and it’s always been about survival between us, you know what I’m saying? And holding each other down in ways that only he and I could hold each other down.”
Published after his death, Pac dedicated some of his poetry to his friend. Smith married MC/actor Will Smith in 1997. The pair met when Jada auditioned for the part of “Lisa” on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air in 1994. That part would ultimately go to Nia Long.
Notably, Sway also pressed how she would feel, as a prominent rapper’s wife, if Will Smith revealed similar things as those heard on JAY-Z’s 4:44 album. “There’s no secrets,” she replies. “That’s the thing, there are no secrets that’s basically what Jay is saying. We all going through the same sh*t. It’s all the same. You know what I mean? It’s just about how do you handle your situation because and that’s where we grow and that’s what relationships are for.”