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Entertainment: From Hollywood to heavy metal Black Habits Articles (IAN NATHANSON/METRO TORONTO) Pinkett Smith tries to smash expectations

If you can’t imagine how the two personae could possibly intersect, Pinkett Smith, the actress, mother, and wife of Will Smith, has no trouble admitting that the idea of her wailing melodically against a sea of thrashing guitars, thumping bass and lightning-fast drumming may sound out of character. After all, she first garnered attention for roles in college TV sitcom A Different World before moving on to Ali, The Nutty Professor The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded, Collateral and Madagascar.

“Because of the persona you know already, you may be thinking you shouldn’t expect much,” laughs Pinkett Smith when asked how people initially perceive the 5-ft., aggressive Jada Koren (Koren being Pinkett Smith’s middle name), lead singer of the band Wicked Wisdom. “It’s a huge mountain to climb, but we’re overcoming a lot of obstacles.”

Nearly four years ago when Pinkett Smith formed Wicked Wisdom with guitarist Pocket Honore, she turned to her Matrix co-star Keanu Reeves for some advice. After all, Reeves tried the music crossover thing himself as bassist with Dogstar — with less-than-stellar public acclaim.

Explains Pinkett Smith, “Keanu was extremely helpful — he basically told me, ‘Jada, this is gonna be a difficult ride for you. People are really going to look at you and put you under the microscope from day one.’ And he was absolutely right.”

Still, Wicked Wisdom, performing tonight at the Phoenix opening for Sevendust, is the real deal, judging by a sampling of the tracks Something Inside Of Me, Cruel Intentions and Yesterday Don’t Mean from the group’s self-titled debut, due Feb. 21. Among her bandmates: guitarist and band co-founder Pocket Honore, who once served as axeman for Ice Cube; drummer Philip “Fish” Fisher, who was founding member of Fishbone, and rounded out by guitarist Cameron Graves and bassist Rio Lawrence.

Pinkett Smith’s own interest in aggressive rock stems from being a long-time fan of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osbourne. Last summer, Wicked Wisdom scored a gig on the second stage of Ozzfest, thanks to Ozzy’s wife Sharon Osbourne, who caught one of their shows at Los Angeles’ famed Viper Room and was impressed. Fisher says it took perseverance to get past the constant boos and catcalls from the crowds during the group’s Ozzfest appearance.

“We’re initially nervous whenever we face any crowd,” Fisher says. “And there are some haters who want to express themselves out loud. But that number is so small. In the end, we kept at it and wound up making a connection with the crowd.”

Not surprisingly, one of Pinkett Smith’s biggest supporters has been her husband of eight years. Though surely the Fresh Prince must have been flabbergasted by her decision to withstand a barrage of naysayers night after night?

“We were talking about this the other day,” Pinkett Smith, 35, says. “He said to me, ‘You’re at a place in your life where everything could be so much easier for you, and you choose to take the most difficult route.’

“And that’s what this is all about for me — breaking down those preconceived barriers. That’s what drives me to do this.”
Posted on Tuesday, January 24 @ 00:00:00 UTC by jcohen

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