Tyler Cole, Willow Smith’s 22-year-old boyfriend, has made his Red Table Talk debut in the latest episode of the Facebook Watch show.
The musician joined the co-hosts as they discussed voting and Black America with rapper Ice Cube, political commentator Van Jones and NFL star Brandon Marshall.
As her daughter beamed, Jada Pinkett smith, 49, introduced the musician and actor as a “close family friend” who is “extremely passionate about today’s RTT.” And Tyler’s passion came through during the Oct. 6 episode, especially when he discussed music and how Black artists are targeted and marketed.
“I feel like a huge dilemma for us as Black people is that the media and the industry wants to see us in a certain light,” Tyler, who is in the band The Anxiety with Willow, said in the clip above. “In the music industry, you’re taught that oh if you’re Black and you rap about violence and money that’s going to make you more money. Labels are going to want to sign you if you’re talking about violence more so than….”
That’s when Jada interjected with “rainbows,” a nod to her son Jaden Smith’s song, “Rainbow Bap.” After giving Willow’s brother a “shout out,” Tyler asked Ice Cube “if you’re a conscious artist” how do you “break the cycle?”
The former N.W.A. star – who was a pioneer of gangster rap – was quick to respond. “The positive music sometimes gets pushed to the side and the raunchy hardcore stuff gets promoted…It puts an imprint in other young artists coming up to [think], ‘Oh this is the way I must need to do it to get on,’” he said. “And artists can’t be afraid to show something new.” He later added, “It’s really all about having courage to break the molds when you’re an artist and not letting anyone put you in the box, not even your own community.”
The co-hosts also spoke about police violence, another subject that Tyler is passionate about. “[You] see time and time again that police officers are getting off; when they’re getting charged, they’re not getting convicted for the crimes that they’re committing,” he said. “So, it just keeps perpetuating the same thing. ‘Oh, we’re not going to get in trouble for this so I can murder this man.’”
During the episode the co-hosts mostly focused on Ice Cube’s Contract With Black America, the agreement that he wants politicians to sign. His list of demands (which are listed on his website) includes demands for prison, police and judicial reform. He also calls for the “wealth gap” between White and Black America” to be addressed.
“What you’ve done here is really groundbreaking,” Jada told the rapper, who told the Red Table Talk ladies, “Politicians should never think, ‘Oh I got you.’ They should always think, ‘I gotta do more to get this vote.’”
Gammy (aka Jada’s mom and co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris) was also impressed with Ice Cube’s contract. “We just can’t just say, ‘Well nobody’s doing anything for us.’ What is it that we want?” she said.