Actor and “Real Table Talk” Host Jada Pinkett Smith celebrates her 50th birthday today. From her early beginnings in “Menace II Society” to her upcoming role in “The Matrix Resurrections,” Pinkett Smith continues to surprise as an enduring pop culture icon.
Did you know these little-known facts about the multiple NAACP Image Award-winner?
She was Close friends With 2Pac
Tupac Shakur pushed Pinkett Smith to take her debut film role in “Menace II Society.” Shakur called the directors and suggested Pinkett Smith for the part, though he left the project before filming began.
In memory of Shakur, Pinkett Smith posted his never-before-seen poem “Lost Soulz” on what would have been the “California Love” Rapper’s 50th birthday last June.
She Sang in a Nu Metal Band
Pinkett Smith created the metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s. The band debuted their first album, “My Story,” in 2004. The same year, the group opened for Britney Spears during her Onyx Hotel tour—showcasing the chart-topping album “In the Zone.”
Wicked Wisdom won over metalheads at Ozzfest in 2005, and released their final album the next year. As a Mother’s Day present, Willow Smith brought the band back together for a special performance of the song “Bleed All Over Me,” from the band’s self-titled album.
Her First Recurring Role was in a Cosby Show Spinoff
Pinkett Smith played Hillman College student Lena James on “A Different World,” a spinoff of “The Cosby Show” that focused on the lives of students at a fictional HBCU.
Though Pinkett Smith’s character was not introduced until the fifth season, the star appeared in 46 episodes of the show before the series finale in 1993.
She Originally Auditioned for the Role of Trinity in “The Matrix”
After her husband Will Smith turned down the role of spoon-bending “Matrix” protagonist Neo, Pinkett Smith auditioned for the female lead Trinity. Though the part ultimately went to Carrie-Anne Moss, the directors wrote Pinkett Smith the role of Niobe for the 2003 sequel “The Matrix Reloaded.”
She Loves Comic Books
Pinkett Smith is a self-proclaimed “comic book freak.”
She brought her enthusiasm to her audition for Fish Mooney on Fox’s “Gotham,” donning a wig and walking a man on a leash. She also created her own Black comic book heroine, Menace. Saved by an angel, the character battles with light and dark as she reconciles her dark past with her second lease on life. Pinkett Smith hopes Menace will someday grace the silver screen.