Jada Koren Pinkett Smith (born September 18, 1971) is an American actress, producer, director, author, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman. She began her career in 1990, when she made a guest appearance in the short-lived sitcom True Colors. She starred in A Different World, produced by Bill Cosby, and she featured opposite Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (1996). She starred in dramatic films such as Menace II Society (1993) and Set It Off (1996). She has appeared in more than 20 films in a variety of genres, including Scream 2, Ali, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Pinkett Smith launched her music career in 2005, when she helped create the metal band Wicked Wisdom, for which she is a singer and songwriter. Smith also created a production company and a makeover line, as well as authoring a book, published in 2000.
In 1997, she married rapper and actor Will Smith; they have two children, Jaden and Willow. Pinkett Smith is the stepmother to Smith’s son, Willard “Trey” Smith III, from a previous marriage. Together, the couple have founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, a charity organization which focuses on urban inner city youth and family support. The foundation has worked with non-profit organizations, such as YouthBuild and the Lupus Foundation of America.
Family and early life Jada Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and named after her mother’s favorite soap opera actress, Jada Rowland. Pinkett-Smith is of West Indian, Creole, and Portuguese-Jewish ancestry. Her parents are Adrienne Banfield-Jones, the head nurse of an inner-city clinic in Baltimore; and Robsol Pinkett, Jr., who ran a construction company. Banfield-Jones became pregnant in high school. The couple married but divorced after several months. Banfield-Jones raised Pinkett with the help of her mother, Marion Martin Banfield, who was employed as a social worker. Banfield noticed her granddaughter’s passion for the performing arts and enrolled her in piano, tap dance, and ballet lessons. She has a younger half-brother, actor/writer Caleeb Pinkett.
“[My mother] understood what I wanted and never stood in my way.”
Pinkett SmithPinkett Smith has remained close to her mother and said, “A mother and daughter’s relationship is usually the most honest, and we are so close.” She participated as the maid of honor in Banfield-Jones’ 1998 wedding to telecommunications executive Paul Jones. Pinkett-Smith has shown great admiration for her grandmother, saying, “My grandmother was a doer who wanted to create a better community and add beauty to the world.”
Pinkett Smith majored in dance and theatre at the Baltimore School for the Arts, graduating in 1989. She continued her education at the North Carolina School of the Arts, but dropped out after a year. She moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career.
 Acting career Early work (1990–1995)Jada moved to Los Angeles and stayed with LaVern Whitt, former stuntwoman, now producer and long time family/friend, who got her started in the industry. In Los Angeles, Pinkett Smith inquired about the choreographer position for the television series In Living Color, created by actor Keenan Ivory Wayans whom she met through LaVern but the job was already taken by Rosie Perez. LaVern helped her find an acting agent and got her started in the industry by introducing Jada to many of her celebrity friends including Keenan. She began her acting career in 1990, when she starred in a television pilot for supernatural drama Moe’s World that was never aired. She received guest roles in television shows such as True Colors (1990), Doogie Howser, M.D. (1991), and 21 Jump Street (1991). She earned a role on comedian Bill Cosby’s NBC television sitcom A Different World in 1991, as college freshman Lena James.
In 1994, Pinkett-Smith acted with Wayans in the action and comedy film A Low Down Dirty Shame. She described her character, Peaches, as “raw” with “major attitude”, and her acting garnered positive reviews. The New York Times noted, “Ms. Pinkett, whose performance is as sassy and sizzling as a Salt-n-Pepa recording, walks away with the movie.”
 Mid-Career(1996–2000)Following a role in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995), Pinkett Smith co-starred with actor and comedian Eddie Murphy in the 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor. The film earned $25 million in its first weekend and opened in 2,000 theaters.
Next Pinkett Smith had a role in Set It Off (1996), a crime drama about four women who rob banks to escape from poverty. With Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise, her acting in the film was noted in the San Francisco Chronicle where they named her as “the one to watch”.
In 1997, Pinkett Smith was featured in Scream 2 as Maureen Evans, a college student who is brutally murdered in front of hundreds of cinemagoers. The film made over $100 million at the US box office. In 2000, Pinkett Smith was cast in Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled (2000), as Sloan Hopkins, a personal assistant to the main character portrayed by Damon Wayans. Although the film met with mediocre reviews, it won the Freedom of Expression Award by the National Board of Review.
More Established Roles (2001–present)Perhaps her best-known role to date is the part of human rebel Niobe in the films The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), sequels to 1999′s The Matrix. The character was eventually written, specifically, with Pinkett Smith in mind. Directly after she filmed her scenes for Ali, Pinkett Smith flew to Australia to work on the Matrix sequels. The sequels earned over $91 million and $48 million during opening weekends, respectively.
In 2008, Pinkett Smith portrayed Alex Fisher, a lesbian author, in The Women. Pinkett Smith’s directorial debut was The Human Contract; she also wrote and acted in the movie. Starring Paz Vega and Idris Elba, it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. In January 2009, she started working on the TNT medical drama Hawthorne, in which she was executive producer and a starring cast member. In September 2011, the show was cancelled by TNT, after just 3 seasons.