Will Smith: There is An Assault on Black Fatherhood, Mothers Need to Make Room For Imperfect Fathers

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Will Smith
Willl Smith stood in the paint for Black fathers, saying women need to make room for them to be in their children’s lives despite their imperfections. In this photo. Trey Smith, from left, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith attend the 26th Annual EMA Awards at Warner Bros. Studio on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

During an emotional conversation with his wife, Jada Pickett Smith, Hollywood heavyweight Will Smith opened up about the “weight of parenting.” He also stood in the paint for his fellow Black fathers, saying women need to make room for them to be in their children’s lives despite their ”imperfections.”

“There’s a necessity that mothers make room for fathers,” Will said. ”Mothers have the kids. They’re yours. It’s hard, I can’t get them from you. … You own them. Those are your kids. They came from your body, they’re yours. I can’t father if you don’t make room for me and you don’t support me; and you have to make room for me in my imperfections. You can’t say you’re gonna make room for me if I get perfect because I’m not perfect and I’m not gon’ get perfect.”

Will and Jada had the conversation during a special Father’s Day Edition of the acclaimed Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.”


He made the aforementioned statements when Jada asked her husband how women could help men “feel better about their fathering.” He pointed out there were a few things that hindered progress in the area.

“I think there are a couple of cultural road blocks to fathering. In the Black community specifically, fathering has been somewhat assaulted and there have been historical and systemic hurdles to African-American fatherhood and attempts to dismantle it,” Will said.

Will Smith
Actor Will Smith yells back at fans while carrying his son Jaden, left, and daughter Willow as he arrives at the Kids’ Choice Awards, Saturday, April 1, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Intentional to state he wasn’t shifting the duty of Black men to be good fathers, Will encouraged them to do so.

”It’s a touchy area to talk about and I’m not relinquishing the responsibility. Let me say, first and foremost, if you have kids, take care of your kids, do whatever you have to do as a man to father your children,” Will said.

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However, according to Will, Black mothers also have to do their part to help Black fathers fulfill their roles in the best way possible.

He added he’s experienced “both situations” and it felt “very true” for him that “motherhood is the doorway to successful fatherhood” because “The mother has to value fatherhood.”

Jada agreed with Will. So did men and women on Twitter.