Here's to Jada - an underrated scream queen

Someone got slapped at the Oscars, but I'm not here to talk about that. As resident horror junkie, I'm here to sing praise and show love for Jada Pinkett-Smith who I believe is an underrated scream queen.

Scream 2 (1997)

In Scream 2, Jada plays Maureen Evans - a woman who's minding her own business on when she's attacked by some weirdo who won't let go of the past. Come to think of it, this is sounding like the Oscars after-all. I guess its like Mickey (played by Timothy Olyphant) said, "It's a perfect example of life imitating art imitating life."

In 2018, in an interview with PeopleTV's Couch Surfing, Jada said the following of her time on the Scream 2 set -

“I remember saying to the director at the time, ‘I want to die the most horrific death that has ever happened in a horror film.'”

This tells us that she went out on her own terms, and I love it. The director she's referencing, of course, was Wes Craven. After their time shared on set, Jada gifted Wes a set of steak knives for Christmas that year.

Jada's role as Maureen brought us many iconic quotes, such as -

"I'm just saying that the horror genre is historical for excluding the African American element."

While on the topic of impact, Jada and Omar Epp's characters are the first two Black actors to appear in the Scream Franchise. They're also the only opening characters to not receive a call from a killer.

In the Scream franchise, getting killed first is a high honor and sets a precedence for the rest of the film. Take the slaying of Drew Barrymore's character Casey Becker at the beginning of Scream. The threat was clear: if this famous ass actor can get it, no one is safe!

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

If you haven't seen Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019), I'd highly suggest that you do. The reflections on the impact of Jada's role as Jeryline are right on the nose (plus, that documentary is amazing and a much watch). Also, you get the pleasure of seeing Ernest Dickerson share his thoughts on Black horror.

Dickerson directed Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) and Bones (2001). So, in other words, he's the real deal. Also, he fought for Jada to get the role of Jeryline in Demon Knight. Originally, Cameron Diaz was supposed to get the role.

Jada's character Jeryline is a woman who's minding her business when she's attacked by some weirdo who won't let go of the past (really, this is starting to get scary). The weirdo in this case is Billy Zane from Titanic (1997). Through her resourcefulness and quick-thinking, Jeryline secured herself as final girl AND savior of humanity.

Final thoughts

From going out on her own terms to saving humanity, Jada's short run in our genre has been nothing short of impactful. The representation is there and I hope to see more of her in horror things in the future.

Thanks for reading! To listen to me talk about this and other horror hot topics and horror movies, check out my podcast Brother Ghoulish's Tomb on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on most platforms where podcasts are played.

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