Yesterday afternoon, Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s popular show Red Table Talk finally returned for its fifth season. And the program’s opening message faintly touched on the matter weighing heaviest on the fans’ minds — the aftermath of her husband slapping Chris Rock at last month’s Oscars ceremony — but it fell short of giving them a concrete answer to any questions, either.
“Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing. Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls,” the onscreen note read. “Until then…The table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring, and healing testimonies like that of our incredible impressive first guest.” The tone was very reminiscent of Pinkett-Smith’s IG post on March 29. (By contrast, Will Smith’s IG has had no new activity since his own apology the previous day to Chris Rock and the Academy Awards.)
From there, the program never addressed the incident again. Instead, Pinkett-Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith brought out a very surprising visitor: R&B superstar Janelle Monáe.
Monáe was reported to have come at Willow’s request, but some wondered if the episode was filmed before or after Will Smith’s fracas. (Per most unnamed sources, it was.) The 36-year-old Grammy Award winning performer spoke about coming out as queer/pansexual later in life.
“I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe told the hosts. “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything. I am everything. But I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything I am. Beyond the binary.”
“My whole family is church… church, church,” they added. “So I was just like, ‘what does it mean to go against your whole family on this thing?’ But I was ready! I was like: if they don’t love me, don’t call me asking for no money. You will not get my LGBTQIA+ money. How about that?”
Monáe also shared the powerful effect their father’s drug addiction had on them. “My parents were not together and I always thought it was me,” the Dirty Computer artist shared. “Why am I not being taken care of by my dad? He had gotten on crack cocaine, and that changed his life. It changed our relationship. Now, he’s clean. Completely sober, he’s doing incredible, he’s like my best friend.”
“But this was when he was sick, I was dealing with real rejection, abandonment issues,” they later added. “What if people leaving me was a direct correlation to my dad? And always feeling like, if I wasn’t perfect, would they leave me. I don’t want to feel the pain of anybody leaving me.”
Monáe’s mother, Janice Hawthorne, later joined the group, and she was excited to be there, too. “I’m just happy someone invited me,” Hawthorne said. “I said, ‘The Red Table? Are you kidding me!'” Watch the video below to see the full first episode from Season 5 of Red Table Talk.