Red Table Talk: Season 1/ Episode 18 “Interracial Marriage with Ellen Pompeo” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the Facebook series, Red Table Talk.
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This week, Ellen Pompeo speaks on her admiration and advocacy for people of color and life being the wife and mother of a Black man and children.


Network
Facebook Watch
Air Date 12/10/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Ellen Pompeo

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Understanding Where Ellen Comes From: Ellen

Ellen Pompeo was raised in an Italian-Irish neighborhood in Boston. An area which she says was peak racism. Even her dad, seemingly attempting to fit in with the area, tried to adapt his thoughts. Problem is, with losing her mom at 4, this created an immense sense of compassion within Ellen. So with hearing all these terrible and racist things growing up, it brought on a curiosity. Perhaps the need to question why these people are supposedly so horrible?

Well, she found out they weren’t and this led to her having many, regular, every day, Black friends. Some of which she’d invite over to their pool and would coerce her dad to see that what the neighborhood says doesn’t match the people who live in it. Leading to him eventually, when it comes to Chris Ivery, Ellen’s husband, realizing the whole neighborhood was on some other s***.

The Joys & Pains of Being an Advocate: Ellen, Jada, Gammy

With growing up in the neighborhood she did, marrying a Black man who came from a disadvantaged background, single-parent home, grew up in the projects, Ellen is familiar with both sides. She knows and understands what it means to have privileged as well as an understanding of what it means to have to fight for every scrap, opportunity, and still feel like you just barely able to make ends meet. With that in mind, she has become a very passionate advocate.

How? Well, by not being afraid. Ellen makes it clear that she has a love for Black people and culture beyond her husband and children. Also, she recognizes she has a platform which, even if it doesn’t get something to happen, like the ending of a KKK series by A&E, it starts a conversation. Perhaps even amplifies a conversation.

Yet, what comes with that is many questioning her intentions and her disruption of the status quo. Meaning, she is getting it from both sides. Take, with the aforementioned A&E thing, her using Black or Brown emojis to celebrate A&E stopping the production – she got in trouble for that and brought up the idea of reverse racism. Why? Oh, because she got called a white b**** over it. Thus causing another stir.

This presents the problem which comes from being an advocate for a community you are not part of. The need to question what is your place, what can be said or done, and whether people will take note of your intention based on previous actions or not. Also, as a white woman, the worry of you repeating history and hijacking a movement. It’s a difficult line to walk and one which constantly challenges you to learn how you can help without silencing those who would rather you assist them so that they can help themselves.

White & Black Reconciliation: Jada, Willow, Gammy, Ellen

Being that Ellen says she isn’t afraid, Jada doesn’t have to worry about her feelings, they have a real honest talk. The kind that couldn’t be had on “The Racial Divide” episode since Jane Elliot was there to educate and Annie, well was unprepared and a little defensive. Ellen was at the red table for conversation and ready. Leading to a handful of gems and some things said in “The Racial Divide” episode repeated. Well, mostly the idea that you have to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to your circle and pursue other perspectives outside your own. Otherwise, being so closed off will limit your experience and the experience of so many others.

For example, Ellen’s child has a Black friend who was confused when Ellen said she was her child’s mom – since Ellen is “Faded Black” as Jane Elliot says. Instead, the child thought Ellen’s nanny, who is Black was her child’s mom. This created a bit of confusion but in Ellen explaining things, it also created a lesson that the child can carry with her through life. Be it by understanding bi-racial children may not look like their mothers or dads, if not an appreciation that parents don’t have to look like their kids. You know, in terms of maybe a kid being adopted, or what have you.

But, you can’t address reconciliation between Black and white women and not mention the angry Black woman stereotype. Something Willow has experienced just by being passionate. For with her experience in the industry, even with her parents there, and taking note of the #MeToo movement, she brings up the need to be careful and gets a bit worked up. After all, she doesn’t want anything to happen to her friends. However, this passion is mistaken for anger and it is frustrating.

Yet, in bringing up the #MeToo movement, Ellen brings up one of the many beautiful things that is part of Black culture – speaking for those who can’t, or don’t know how, to speak for themselves. Willow warning her friends, trying to protect them, is advocating for them. The way Black music and entertainers are, they advocate for their people, their people’s talent and humanity, and speak for them in ways many of Ellen’s peers won’t.

And, ultimately, it is agreed that real conversations, even if there is some fear involved, need to be had for there to be a true reconciliation between women, the different ethnicities, genders, and cultures, and the human race in general.

Highlights

The Conversation

It’s hard to not compare and contrast Annie to Ellen. Taking note Annie was seemingly uncomfortable with the whole being on camera thing, it kind of showed up one side to the difficulty in just starting a conversation. The problem of isolating or making your circle a monolith and trying to make it seem it’s not because of you but others that things are as they are.

Yet, then you got Ellen who is ready to engage, understand, shows you a life that can be an example, and even note the challenges which come with it. She basically lives as Jane Elliott wishes more faded Black folk would. The only issue is, as Ellen notes, there is this fear in losing something. How? Well, by empowering others there seems to be, per Ellen, this idea you lose out on your piece of the pie. That is, rather than by helping others make their own pie, they have less of a need to even worry about yours.

Low Point

This Show Really Needs To Be More Than A Half Hour

To put it simply, Ellen presents a lot of interesting points and thoughts that feel like they shouldn’t be contained into a half-hour format. Like “The Racial Divide” episode, just as things have found a good rhythm at the table, suddenly they are over and you are left a bit frustrated. For while we’ve seen this topic brought up before, the way Red Table Talk is presents and addresses it in a way which seems different.

With this show, we are not presented a TED Talk or a lecture series. There isn’t this air of Jada trying to be a journalist, remain unbiased, and let whoever she interviews talk without sometimes being questioned. We’re shown a real conversation which doesn’t get too messy, have any “GOTCHA!” moments, but does address things which can be uncomfortable for the person visiting the table.

All of which can’t be done, sufficiently, in a half hour and shouldn’t end on that bowl segment.

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Title card for the Facebook series, Red Table Talk.

Collected Quotes: Red Table Talk

Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode Information

Season 1/ Episode 18 “Interracial Marriage with Ellen Pompeo”

This week, Ellen Pompeo speaks on her admiration and advocacy for people of color and life being the wife and mother of a Black man and children.

Air Date 12/10/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Ellen Pompeo

Season 1/ Episode 17 “Learning To Forgive”

Jada’s father, Robsol Pinkett, Jr., is discussed in terms of the issues he left his children, as well as the lessons he bestowed them.

Air Date 12/3/2018
Introduced This Episode
Himself Caleeb Pinkett

Season 1/ Episode 16 “Surviving Divorce With Toni Braxton”

Toni Braxton comes to visit the red table and clears up some things about her divorce, her relationship with Birdman, and related to Adrienne a little bit.

Air Date 11/26/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Toni Braxton

Season 1/ Episode 15 “Domestic Abuse: When Love Turns Violent”

Adrienne and her hairstylist lay their burdens down and give us their stories so you can see and understand the signs, signals, and warnings before it is too late.

Air Date 11/19/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Crystal
Herself Selena

Season 1/ Episode 14 “The Racial Divide: Women of Color & White Women”

In an episode which brings on the legendary Jane Elliott, Jada, Adrienne, and Willow address the issues Black women have with their faded Black counterparts.

Air Date 11/12/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Jane Elliott
Herself Annie Price

Featuring: Jada, Adrienne, Willow, Annie Price, Jane Elliott

Season 1/ Episode 13 “Leah Remini: Setting the Record Straight”

Jada continues to demystify herself and her family as she works through her old ways of thinking head on. This time with Leah Remini.

Air Date 11/5/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Leah Remini

Featuring: Leah, Jada

Season 1/ Episode 12 "Our Unique Union (Part 2)"

After building up to what led to them demolishing how their relationship worked, Will and Jada now go into what allows it to function, and flourish, presently.

Air Date 10/29/2018

Season 1/ Episode 1 “Motherhood”

The revived Red Table Talk presents something carefully curated but also raw. For in the maturity of its hosts and first guest, you see the work put into being mature and having grace, yet not feeling the need for a facade.

Network
Facebook
Creator Jada Pinkett Smith
Air Date 5/7/2018
Featuring
Herself Jada Pinkett Smith
Herself Willow Smith
Herself Adrienne Banfield-Jones
Herself Sheree Zampino

Season 1/ Episode 2 “Surviving Loss”

This week on Red Table Talk loss and death are spoken about with special attention to what loss can mean beyond physical death.

Air Date 5/14/2018

Season 1/ Episode 2.5 “Ask Jada Live: Surviving Loss”

In the follow up to Monday’s Red Table Talk, the ladies of the table reiterate the importance of communication alongside knowing thyself.

Air Date 5/16/2018

Season 1/ Episode 3 “Body Confessions”

In this episode, the ladies of the Red Table confess not just their insecurities about their bodies, but also talk about what they love about theirs and each other.

Air Date 5/21/2018

Season 1/ Episode 4 “Girls Trippin'”

For the entire episode, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Gabrielle Union have a heart to heart not just about their issues, but the difficulty of maintaining female friendships, the #MeToo movement, and being wives.

Air Date 5/28/2018
Actors Introduced
Herself Gabrielle Union

Season 1/ Episode 5 “Parenting”

The parenting style of Will and Jada Smith which produced such eccentric children has always been curious and sometimes even controversial. That gets broken down, to a point, this episode.

Air Date 6/4/2018
Actors Introduced
Himself Jaden Smith

Season 1/ Episode 6 “Sex Talk! Personal Stories From Three Generations”

It’s time to talk about sex and while open communication has been encouraging and consistent, there are some road bumps this time around.

Air Date 6/11/2018
Actors Introduced
Herself Telana Lynum

Season 1/ Episode 7 “EJ & Cookie Johnson: Daring To Be Different”

As EJ and Cookie Johnson sit at the red table, the message is essentially that you’ll prepare your child for the world no matter what you do. Better to in love than oppression.

Air Date 6/18/2018
Actors Introduced
Themselves EJ Johnson
Herself Cookie Johnson

Season 1/ Episode 8 “Tiffany Haddish In The House”

Tiffany Haddish comes to sit at the red table and after reintroducing herself, she drops a few new tidbits about herself.

Air Date 6/25/2018
Actors Introduced
Herself Tiffany Haddish

Season 1/ Episode 9 “Cesar Millan: From Illegal Immigrant to American Dream”

Dog behaviorist, Cesar Millan, briefly recaps how and why he came to the United States as well as the importance of his 20+ year friendship with Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Air Date 7/2/2018
Actors Introduced
Himself Cesar Millan

Season 1/ Episode 10 “Facing Addiction: Jada & Adrienne Share Their Family’s Story”

Adrienne and R&B artist August Alsina delve into their experiences with drug addiction and how they found a way to become clean.

Air Date 7/9/2018
Actors Introduced
Himself August Alsina
Herself Ashley Marie

Season 1a – Recap/ Review

In the first half of season 1, Jada Pinkett-Smith revives Red Table Talk and gives us the type of show you wish was in the headlines for more than sensationalized topics.

Network
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Creator Jada Pinkett Smith
Noted Cast
Herself Jada Pinkett-Smith
Herself Willow Smith
Herself Adrienne Banfield-Jones
Herself Gabrielle Union
Herself Tiffany Haddish
Them self EJ Johnson
Himself Cesar Millan

Season 1/ Episode 11 “Becoming Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Part 1)

So much knowledge is dropped beyond the background of Will and Jada’s marriage that you’ll feel like you are in a master class.

Air Date 10/22/2018
Characters Introduced
Himself Will Smith


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