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Will Smith Says Slavery is the Root of African-American’s Approach to Parenting

Will and Jaden Smith

By Brande Victorian

Yup, he’s still talking. He’s still on the same subject too, but this time around Will Smith is expanding his musings on parenting  beyond the Smith household to a few observations on African American parenting in general.

The actor sat down for a one-on-one with Haute Living to discuss his latest feature, After Earth, which he stars in alongside son Jaden, and the mag asked if there were any similarities behind the pair’s on-screen relationship and the one they share in real life. The 44-year-old said he and Jaden inevitably brought some of their own father-son dynamic to the characters, but the more interesting answer came when Will was asked whether there were any similarities between the way he was raised and how he’s raising his son and daughter. Here’s what he said.

“There are definite similarities. I grew up in a family business so my father, my mother and all my brothers and sisters worked in the family business, so that’s really the only way I know how to parent. In real situations, you are going out in the real world and you are earning real money. The things you say and do in the world will affect the family for real. My style of parenting is very similar to that of my parents , minus the concept of ownership. I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids.”

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