Title card for Red Table Talk featuring EJ Johnson

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. Network Facebook Air Date 6/18/2018 Actors Introduced Themselves EJ Johnson Herself Cookie Johnson Labels and Fluidity: EJ, Willow, Cookie, Jada, Adrienne Gender…

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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

Labels and Fluidity: EJ, Willow, Cookie, Jada, Adrienne

Jada talking about her, Cookie, and Adrienne's generation needed labels to understand something.
Jada: Our generations, we always, it feels like we had to label things to understand it.

Gender fluidity, dispelling of what is masculine and feminine, while understandable it is also something hard to quickly adapt to. For, whether you are Jada and Cookie’s age or Adrienne, you’re used to labels. Knowing someone considers themselves gay, androgynous, metrosexual, etc, it helped you understand them. It gave you some sort of blueprint. However, with people just wanting to be identified by name and not associated with labels, it complicates things.

Now you are in this awkward space of trying to figure out what pronoun to use, maybe even figure if they are part of your community or simply embracing their feminine energy. Something that can even be a challenge if you’re open minded because, there is a world of difference between a friend, acquaintance, or a strange being authentic and something which can only be described by their name and it being your own child.

Not to imply it is easy for the child either. While the world is beginning to adapt, EJ notes that even they sometimes have trouble deciding which bathroom they want to go into. That, facing the world in what feels good for you and your body takes time and as much as you are loved, there comes reality checks. The kind which can knock you right on your ass. Waking you up from what may seem like a bubble where things are better than they truly are.

Dating & The Sacred Space: EJ, Willow, Cookie, Jada, Adrienne

Cookie Johnson relaying how she took and spoke about EJ's gender expression and sexuality.
Cookie Johnson: I’m like, ‘this is what makes him happy, let him be happy.’

While Willow doesn’t speak on her dating life, she does co-sign a lot of what EJ divulges when it comes to the layers involved with not just dating them, but the road to being official. For, with EJ, there is the question of who are you trying to date? Are you dating EJ, the child of Magic Johnson? Is the fame and sense of luxury and celebrity what you are dating? Or is it simply EJ? What are you there for?

But there is also that other layer, one which Willow calls “The sacred space” which may not just be home but wherever her parents are. Because, as privileged as one may consider EJ or Willow, you have to recognize their parents were under no obligation to welcome them with opening arms. To accept them and enable them to find themselves in a safe environment. One which, per EJ, kept it real with him that the outside world may not be as friendly, but inside their home, gave them the space to explore.

And because of that, to Jada’s surprise a bit, even with these kids being so completely themselves, they honor their parents’ opinion and the space provided. Making it where, for CJ, they have felt they have yet to find someone worthy of coming into that space. As for Willow? Well, again, as much as she may give her opinion and talk about things which happened in the past, her present isn’t something she really actively shares much.

Coming From Where I’m From: Cookie, Adrienne, Jada

Jada talking about how she had to have a open mind and had a bit of fear when it came to how Jaden is or can be.
Jada: And I was an art school kid that was considered a weirdo

Jada makes it a point to put out there, it wasn’t her rearing which led to Willow and Jaden becoming who they were. In fact, being that she was from a rough part of Baltimore, when it came to raising Jaden, she was raising something a bit foreign. Thus pushing the idea, while maybe not as fearful as Will was, being that Jada didn’t have a blueprint or label to give Jaden, she experienced the same feelings of fear. Something she learned to, within reason, abate a bit but it still is kind of there.

For, as she and Cookie share, the Willow and EJs of the world didn’t exist, in the mainstream, as they do now. And while, yeah, Adrienne allowed Jada to color her hair and be artsy before it was cool, that’s nothing now. But, the thing to take away from all this is how, as Cookie points out, your kids are going to do what they want to do. So either you can stand beside them, support them, and ready them for a world which may not love and accept them as you do, or push them away, deny them a safe space, and in the process of trying to dim their light, suffocate them. Either to the point of abandoning you or possibly worse.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • EJ came out, officially, at 15 and Cookie had knowledge EJ was different when they were around 5.
  • Will wasn’t for Willow shaving her head at 9 for he connected it with her femininity.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. When is Will Smith going to get to explain his side of raising Willow and Jaden? Because, he gets name dropped in such a way where Jada lets it know, similar to Magic, he wasn’t on board from the get-go but wasn’t trying to oppress his children either.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

What is normal for you, in your natural state, do that.


  1. Jada, who is invaluable as a moderator, who knows when to push or let things go. If not revisit when maybe one person or the other is a bit more comfortable and doesn’t feel like they are taking the first leap.
  2. There being a conversation featuring an LGBT Black person in which the conversation was light but also meaningful. Primarily in terms of Cookie’s statement on either being part of the journey or just seen as an obstacle to your child’s final destination.

On The Fence

  1. Recognizing that Willow and Adrienne will not always be as open as Jada is on most topics. Especially when it deals with stuff that is current and can’t be spoken of in past tense.

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Previous Episode’s Recap

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