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On the second episode of the Facebook series Red Table Talk, 17-year-old musician Willow Smith had a pretty harrowing admission for her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith. The episode, which Jada co-hosts with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow, saw all three recounting personal experiences with loss.
Asked what her biggest loss was, Willow said she lost her "sanity at one point," shortly after the success of her first single "Whip My Hair," released in 2010, days before her 10th birthday.
"It was after that whole 'Whip My Hair' thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of in this gray area of like, who am I? Do I have a purpose? Like is there anything that I can do besides this?" she said, adding that once the song took off she was being pressured to complete an album. (In 2011 she quickly followed with "21st Century Girl" and the Nicki Minaj-featuring "Fireball.")
"After all of that kind of settled down and it was a kind of lull, like I was just listening to a lot of dark music and it was just so crazy, and I was just plunged into this black hole, and I was like cutting myself," she said.
This was apparently new information for Willow's mother and grandmother, who both expressed shock and concern. "I had no idea," Jada said. Willow said brothers Jaden and Trey were also unaware of what was going on, as were most of her friends, but she did confide in one of them. "I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life but you have to pull yourself...out of it."
"I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain but my physical circumstances weren't reflecting that," she explained when asked what lead her to self-harm. She went on to explain that it helped her make her pain "tangible" and more real instead of "a ghost in your mind", but says she has not done it in the past five years. "One night I was just like, 'This is actually psychotic,' and after that, I just stopped."
Jada found out before the episode, titled "Surviving Loss," that a friend of hers had passed away from brain cancer. She also described losing close friend Tupac. It's all a very emotional but worthwhile watch.
If you or someone you know is inflicting or thinking about self-harm, try 1-800-DON'T-CUT for S.A.F.E. Alternatives or 1-800-273-TALK to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.