Does Jada Want a White Woman on Essence Cover?


(The Root) — Last week, Jada Pinkett Smith used her Facebook page to take on Americans' treatment of young celebrities. On Monday, taking pains to make it clear that she's "thinking outside the box" and that "these possibilities may be realistic or unrealistic," the actress wonders this: If black women expect white women to include us in the spaces that they control (mainstream magazine covers, for example), at what point must we do the same for them?


Here's how she put it: 

I also want to make it clear that there is no finger pointing here. I pose this question with the hope that it opens a discussion about how we can build a community for women based upon us all taking a deeper interest in one another. An interest where skin color, culture, and social class does not create barriers in sharing the commonality of being … women.

With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this … if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us? I don't know the answer and would love to hear your thoughts.

In the mini-essay, which is illustrated with an Essence magazine cover modified to feature actress Charlize Theron, Smith also asks, "Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?" Clearly that day's not today. Or tomorrow. Or next week.

Is Pinkett Smith off in left field with this one, or is she raising an issue worth thinking about this Women's History Month? Let us know in the comments.