Lauren London joined Jada Pinkett-Smith for a “Red Table Talk” conversation about how gun violence affects women. The episode is available on Facebook Watch now HERE and also features activist Erica Ford and gun violence survivors Rain Stippec and Dani Robinson.
In the episode, which was pre-recorded prior to social distancing requirements, Jada gives an updated introduction discussing her thoughts on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery & Breonna Taylor, and then sits down with Lauren London to talk about the traumas of gun violence and coping with grief and loss. While we loved the entire interview with Lauren, we were most struck by her answer when Jada asked her about raising black sons. While Nipsey was not killed by police and Lauren said her high school years were marred by losing numerous classmates to gang violence, she answered by saying she’s been preparing them for how to interact with police:
“What I instill in them is more about the police. How to handle yourself when you get pulled over. That’s more of my education, protecting them being Black men in America.”
SMH. It’s so sad that we have to teach these things to our kids. Lauren and Jada bonded over their shared high school experiences growing up with gun violence.
“When would you say was the first time that you can remember that you were affected by gun violence?” – Jada asked.
“Just growing up in LA, in the area that I was around,” Lauren said. “In high school, a lot of the boys were in gangs, and I remember that a lot of our friends, by summertime they were gone. They had transitioned from gun violence. So you kind of got… I don’t want to say numb, but used to hearing it.”
“I think for me, it was kind of like middle school, high school,” Jada said.” It just became, unfortunately, like a norm.”
“But even going to like a party in high school…” Lauren added.
“You were putting your life on the line,” Jada said.
“And you always…knew where the exit was because at any time…” Lauren added.
“Something could jump off. Especially house parties.” – Jada said.
“That’s traumatizing,” Lauren said.” To be 16 years old, having to be on guard when you go into a party.”
“You just get used to figuring out how to keep yourself safe in these environments,” Jada said. ” Most of us grow up in war zones. And I did not even realize that until my life changed. When I started to look at how my kids were growing up versus me. But that’s not their reality.”
Another really positive moment from the interview was when Lauren shared how she loves meeting people who were affected by Nipsey:
“I love to meet people that Nip has really inspired, because it feels like he’s still here – even though he is in a way. But it’s like his purpose, that was completely outside of any of us…He’s touching people still, and I find that when I run into people that tell me how he’s changed their lives, what they’re doing with their life right now, like it fills me up. He would have loved to hear that, you know?”
She added that when her sons are with her, they’re also proud to hear people speak so positively about Nip.
Lauren also spoke about how she continues to heal following the death of her partner:
“For me, what’s really been important is like connecting with God and that’s been a struggle because something horrible happens in your eyes and you’re like, ‘How God?’…It’s not easy, I don’t always wake up on the enlightened side of the bed, you know, and the days that I don’t, I let myself because I’m human… I’m gentle with myself. I find things that matter, and so I try to live with a purpose. When I’m having a bad day, I meditate. I go within.”
She is so beautiful, inside and out. You can just feel her beautiful spirit. Lauren also spoke really highly of another “Red Table Talk” guest from the episode, Erica Ford.
Hit the flip for some excerpts from her part of the interview.