Jada one of the producers of the movie talked about the work of Angela Davis and others who were actively involved in the struggle for the equality of people not only in America but around the world. Acknowledging that their dedication and determination has shaped the very different world that we now live in, especially in America. When she found out about the documentary, she knew that she had to be involved in any way possible.
The movie directed by Shola Lynch, centers around the trial of Angela Davis, and her connection to the Marin County Courthouse takeover. In August of 1970, 17 year old high school student Jonathan Jackson, an observer of a trial involving three San Quentin inmates pulled out a gun and held up the courtroom. He armed the three inmates then took the Judge, the DA and three female Jurors hostage.
The 17 year old moved the hostages outside where a van was waiting and a sawed off shotgun was taped to the Judge’s chin. Before the men could escape, a gun battle ensued between the four men and the police. By the time it was over, the heads of the judge and two of the inmates had been blown off and two hostages were wounded.
The three men were inmates of Soledad Prison and thus known as the Soledad Brothers. They were on trial in connection with the stabbing of a prison guard which was in retaliation for several African American inmates being killed by another guard. The killings were believed to be a result of the political activism taking place within the prison.
How was Angela Davis connected? She was a supporter of the Soledad Brothers, romantically involved with one of the defendants, and the guns used in the attempted getaway were registered to her. She was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder. After spending months in jail, Davis was acquitted by an all white jury on all charges.
Jada as tiny as she is has an infectious laugh that can start a chain reaction of giggles in a packed room. She is funny, down to earth and can shoot the breeze with anyone. But she can quickly become serious when it comes to her beliefs and values.
She not only spoke about her involvement in the film but she talked about being a public figure and the scrutiny that she and other Hollywood celebrities face by some on a daily basis. Believing that just because an individual is famous, that does not give anyone the right to project their hate and prejudices onto them.
She also talked about women who inspire her. Michelle Obama she calls on when she needs a little encouragement, eluding to the fact that even she needs a little push now and then. Salma Hayek her girlfriend who shares her passion for the arts. And of course her mother who has taught her much.
Finally the question on the minds of many. Marc Lamont asked Jada if the success of her marriage to Will Smith, one of the biggest stars in the world, is due to the fact that they have an open marriage? Jada laughed and said that those rumors were started because of some of the ways that she answered questions about their relationship in the past. She did say that it can be difficult being part of a celebrity couple because people romanticize about celebrity couples. The public tends to believe that they are somehow different from everyone else and that they possess the ideal relationship. Jada scoffed at that notion. That could not be further from the truth. Celebrities have the same challenges and go through the same ups and downs as anyone.
She did say that Will is her best friend and has been supportive of her through many difficult situations in her life.
Jada didn’t really confirm or deny that she and Will Smith have an open marriage, but did say that she has always told Will:
“You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be ok. Because at the end of the day Will is his own man I’m here as his partner but he is his own man and he has to decide who he wants to be. And that’s not for me to do for him, or vice versa.”
You go Jada. I can’t wait to see the film. I will definitely take my family. Angela Davis is a part of American History.