Snoop & Jada Pinkett Have An Emotional Conversation About Kobe, Gayle King & Misogyny
Earlier this month, Snoop Dogg made global headlines after a fiery reaction to Gayle King’s controversial CBS This Morning interview with retired basketball star Lisa Leslie. During that interview, which broadcast on February 4, the network anchor brought up Kobe Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault charge while speaking to the two-time WNBA champion and current coach in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league.
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge, which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” King said during the Tuesday interview. “Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?” Leslie responded, “It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been like, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her, or send her this.’ I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that.”
King, who had a viral 2019 interview of R. Kelly about sexual misconduct, kept the line of questioning: “But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it, though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it.” Leslie responded, “And that’s possible. I just don’t believe that. And I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things [happened] with force.”
“Is it even a fair question to talk about it, considering he’s no longer with us and that it was resolved,” King asked. “Or is it really part of his history?” Leslie responded, “I think that the media should be more respectful at this time. It’s like, if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy. I mean, he went to — it went to trial.”
“Yeah, but the case — it was dismissed because the victim in the case refused to testify, so it was dismissed,” King declared. “And I think that that’s how we should leave it,” Leslie echoed. The clip was tweeted on CBS’ account as a teaser to the interview.
The mention in the interview, less than two weeks after Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people died in a January 26 helicopter crash. Among those outraged by the mention of controversy in a time of mourning was Snoop Dogg.
“Gayle King [you are] out of pocket for that sh*t,” Snoop said in a social media video days after the CBS interview first appeared. “Way out of pocket. What do you gain from that? I swear to God, we [are] the worst. We [are] the f*ckin’ worst. We expect more from you, Gayle. Don’t you hang out with Oprah [Winfrey]? Why [are] y’all attacking us? We [are] your people; you ain’t coming after f*ckin’ Harvey Weinstein-ass and them dumb-ass questions. I get sick of y’all. I wanna call you one; is it okay if I call her one? Funky dog-head b*tch. How dare you try to tarnish my motherf*cking homeboy’s reputation. Punk motherf*cker. Respect the family and back off, b*tch, before we come get you.” The clip was reposted by legions of fans and critics online, including past collaborator 50 Cent. Meanwhile, an imprisoned Bill Cosby released a statement in support of Snoop’s remarks.
Earlier on February 6, King had released a statement on the interview, frustrated with the emphasis on mentioning the accusations against Kobe Bryant. “Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context, and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring,” King said. “It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it. I started getting calls, ‘What the hell are you doing? Why did you say this? What is happening?’ I did not know what people were talking about.”
The clarification came with Snoop’s now-high-profile remarks. Facing both support and backlash for his name-calling, Snoop clarified the words on February 9. The rapper stressed that he did not threaten Gayle King. “What [do] I look like wanting some harm to come to a 70-year-old woman? I was raised way better than that,” Snoop said on social media. “I don’t want no harm to come to her, and I didn’t threaten her. All I did was [say], ‘Check it out, you [are] outta pocket for what you doing, and we [are] watching you. Have a little more respect for Vanessa, her babies and Kobe Bryant’s legacy.'”
Three days later, Snoop made a public apology to Gayle King. “Gayle King, I publicly tore you down by coming at you in a derogatory manner based off of emotions [and] me being angry at the questions that you asked. Overreacted, should have handled it way different than that. I was raised better than that,” he reiterated. “So I would like to apologize to you publicly for the language that I used and calling you out of your name and just being disrespectful.”
One day after Snoop’s February 12 apology, King accepted the public gesture. “I accept the apology and understand the raw emotions caused by this tragic loss,” King said in a statement to The Associated Press. “As a journalist, it is sometimes challenging to balance doing my job with the emotions and feelings during difficult times,” King said. “I don’t always get it perfect but I’m constantly striving to do it with compassion and integrity.”
Today (February 26), Red Table Talk premieres its interview with Snoop Dogg. Gayle King was invited to appear. Host Jada Pinkett-Smith says that King’s invitation does not expire. However, in a 30-plus-minute chat with Jada, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Snoop addressed the issue.
Notably, Jada reveals that this marks the first conversation with Snoop, apart from some greetings in passing. Moments into the sitdown, Smith says, “I’ve had a bit of a complicated relationship with you from afar, and you can understand that.” She goes on to say that she respected Snoop Dogg for publicly standing up to former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight at a time when few celebrities would. Smith acknowledges that years later, Knight and Snoop settled their differences. However, the Red Table Talk co-host believes Snoop stepped up for others, including people in her circle. She also praises him for the recent Gayle King apology. “When you first said what you said, I felt like you were not only talking to Gayle, but you were talking to me. I was like, ‘Oh, no. Snoop has now taken his power-flow away from me, away from Willow, away from mother.'”
Norris, Jada’s mother, brings up some personal losses Snoop has suffered. Snoop, shaking his head with glassy eyes, admits, “It was just a matter of me losing control. We still haven’t swallowed [the death of Nipsey Hussle].” Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths added to that, as did the passings of his grandmother and an infant grandson. “And then I gotta be stronger for everybody; remember that part. You gotta turn it on; ‘it’s time to be Snoop again.’ But what about when I want to cry? What about when I’m hurtin’, and I’m feelin’ bad, and I feel disgusted, and I want to be angry? And I just wanna blurt it out? I can’t, and I let my emotions get the best of me. I was frustrated on top of just venting, and doing it the wrong way.”
Snoop says, “Kobe was like the son and the brother to L.A. that we all needed. We loved him for that,” Bryant made his Lakers debut the same year that Snoop Dogg was acquitted of murder, the same season that he released sophomore album Tha Doggfather. “We watched him grow into a man, a father, a mentor, a leader.” Snoop adds that Kobe’s example showed him the value of apologizing. “Our relationship was [about] being fans. I was a fan of his; he was a fan of mine. I loved everything he did on the court [and] off the court. I loved him as a father to his daughters, and how he was transforming into that man that we all want to be. We all want to be that man that’s loved by their kids and their wife [and be seen as] a stand-up guy. Getting to that point in life is hard.”
Moving to Gayle King’s interview of Lisa Leslie, Snoop Dogg says he spoke up for Black men, especially watching a Black woman bring up the controversy. “It’s a collective feeling of, ‘You guys are targeting us, you guys are coming after us, and you guys are us.'” He continues, “When somebody becomes a superhero—we don’t have a lot of ’em—but when someone becomes a superhero, it’s our job to protect that superhero.” Considering Kobe Bryant one such superhero, he says he felt as though Gayle King was attacking the legacy. Snoop and the hosts agree that the sense of feeling targeted is a symptom of the PTSD that comes with being Black.
“What’s crazy is, you may think [there] were more people against me; it was more people with me,” Snoop says of the social media outpouring after the remarks. “That was the strange [thing]. ‘Thanks, Snoop. You said what we been wanting to say, but you shouldn’t have said it like that.'” The three hosts emphatically agree. The guest later shares that Puff Daddy, Tyler Perry, and Van Jones were among the powerful Black men who contacted Snoop in support of his intent. “I’m a man; it don’t bother me to check me,” Snoop adds. “There’s always some wrong in the right. You just have to look for it—and I went looking for it.” Later in the interview, Snoop explains that his mother was instrumental to him re-choosing his words after the fact. “I wanted to make sure that what I said was said the right way. I wanted to make sure that the message was [received]: we love Kobe, and be respectful of Vanessa and those kids. That’s what the whole intent was—to protect that woman and them babies over there, because she’s still grieving. And let’s give them that respect.” Snoop says that he direct messaged King, and reached out to her through mutual connections. The two had not spoken at the time of the Red Table Talk taping. Snoop specifies that he wished to meet with the anchor in private, for a more human connection.
At 19:00, Jada Pinkett-Smith mentions the misogyny in the culture. She sees it as a barrier to reaching an understanding across gender lines in the Black community. “I admit that I’ve been the one that said ‘ni**a,’ ‘b*tches,’ ‘h*es’—I used that the whole seven-to-10 years [during] the beginning of my career. So it’s kinda hard to take those words out of the equation when I do shows, people love that song for those words.” Adrienne Banfield-Norris points out that Snoop “relapsed” with his art. She points out that I Wanna Thank Me includes the misogyny that the rapper vowed to stop. In the last decade, Snoop made a Christian Rap LP as well as a peace-minded Reggae collection. Snoop mentions a challenge with that. In doing so, he brings up his and Jada’s mutual friend, Tupac Shakur.
Snoop shares, “Me and Pac had a problem with that [in 1996]. He wanted me to stay gangsta, and I was like, ‘Cuzz, I got a baby on the way, I just beat a murder case, I have a lot to live for.’ He had no kids.” Pinkett adds that she challenged Tupac on his use of misogynistic terms in his lyrics, “We got into it, hardcore.” Snoop says that he relates to Pac’s struggle. Smith recalls Shakur explaining the difference between women and the people he was referring to with those terms, “It made no sense [to me].” Snoop says he felt the impact of still using the B-word, most notably through the 2020 Gayle King incident. He adds that he received little recognition for not swearing on 2018’s Bible Of Love.
At the close of the interview, Snoop details the 2019 loss of his grandson. He also praises collaborator Charlie Wilson from The Gap Band for being a mentor, especially over his longtime marriage.