Let's just say I didn't skip through the video.
Since the debut a few days ago, I can admit that I was holding off on watching Olivia Jade's interview on Jada Pinkett Smith's show Red Table Talk due to my own biases and because in that particular moment, I wasn't all that interested. But with further contemplation and the comfortable atmosphere of Red Table Talk, I figured, why not give it a shot.
For reference, here is some background on the controversy surrounding Olivia Jade. In the spring of 2019, when the college admissions scandals were rapidly uncovered, one of the high-profile people involved in the case happened to be Full House star Lori Loughlin and her husband fashion designer Mossimo Giannuli. They were accused of paying half a million dollars to get their daughters into the University of Southern California by pretending to be a part of the school's row team. After pleading guilty earlier this year, Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison, and Giannuli five months.
As both are currently serving their sentences, this apparently was the perfect time for Olivia Jade to break her silence about the situation. Let's just say I didn't skip through the video.
Before Olivia came to the table, the episode opened up with a discussion between Jada, her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris (also known as Gammy), and her daughter, Willow. Banfield-Norris didn't hold back from sharing her opinions about Olivia, expressing that she was not keen on her coming onto the show, saying, "I found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story." She also argued that Olivia would "recover whether or not she's sitting at this table or not," alluding to her privilege as a young white woman.
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Jada understood that she would probably get flack for the interview, but she expressed her desire to give everyone a fair chance to say their peace.
When I saw this discussion, I couldn't help but think about the Black people who don't necessarily have a platform to explain themselves.
During the actual interview, Olivia did seem to come to terms with her privilege as well as acknowledging that she doesn't expect sympathy from anyone from her actions. Banfield-Norris didn't hold back from giving her a piece of her mind, saying "it's very difficult for me to feel compassionate about you."
Although the look on her face made it seem like she's never been spoken to like that, she took all the criticism without defense, saying, "I didn't come on here to win people over," and that all she wants to do is apologize for what was wrong.
Sounds pretty fair so far.
Even though she didn't dive into all of the specifics (I wanted all the juicy details!), Olivia also revealed that she didn't know everything that was happening during the application process to USC and that she believed that her parents were merely making a donation during the application process.
She also brought up the fact that some of the things that were made public weren't written by her.
When the scandal initially became public, she also admitted that she didn't really understand what was happening. She was asked if she was angry with her parents about it, and she responded with, "to be honest, I was angry because I didn't have a good understanding of what happened." It's also worth noting that she never went back to USC because of the embarrassment.
Back to the subject of parents, Olivia said that she hadn't spoken to either of them (she mentioned something about a quarantine period in the prison), and there's no in-person visiting due to COVID. In the meantime, she's waiting to hear from them whenever they're able to make a call.
Moreover, and without giving too much credit, Olivia, time and time again, expressed her apologies and the embarrassment of everything that went down. She even went on to discuss her silence in the aftermath of the scandal, saying that a lot of it had to do with legal issues.
She's also insisted that she's "not this bratty girl that doesn't want to change anything," even mentioning some of the volunteer endeavors she's been doing. So it looks like she's willing to learn.
Some people who come from a place of privilege don't always take accountability for their actions nor see why certain things can be an issue, especially when it is racially charged. When they do take accountability, it is a testament to growth.
Hopefully, strides towards people becoming aware of the world outside of themselves will continue to happen, even if it's prolonged.
Check out the Olivia Jade interview on Red Table Talk via Facebook Watch.