Jada Koren Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Robsol Grant Pinkett, Jr. and Adrienne Banfield-Jones. Pinkett Smith majored in dance and choreography at the Baltimore School for the Arts where one of her classmates was Tupac Shakur. She spent a year at the North Carolina School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue her career in acting.
Her acting career officially began in 1990 when she starred in an episode of True Colors. She then appeared in a television pilot for a supernatural drama entitled Moe’s World that was never aired. She received guest roles in television shows such as Doogie Howser, M.D. (1991) and 21 Jump Street (1991). Her big break came in 1991 when she was cast as college Freshman Lena James on the television sitcom A Different World.
She made her feature film debut two years later in Menace II Society (1993). She did not gain widespread recognition, however, until her role opposite Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (1996) and the critically acclaimed Set It Off (1996) opposite Queen Latifah and Vivica Fox. She has appeared in more than 20 films in a variety of genres including Scream 2 (1997), Ali (2001), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions( 2003), Madagascar (2005), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012). Recently, Pinkett Smith was a star in the comedic movie Bad Moms (2016).
Pinkett Smith is married to Will Smith, and they have a son, Jaden Smith (18); and a daughter, Willow Smith (16). The family resides in Hollywood, California.