At night Jaden Smith might be Batman, but during the day he's Captain Planet. His gang of MSFTS are the planeteers, and the rest of us are '90s kids on a Saturday morning watching and learning in awe.
At 19, Jaden has already made a huge mark in Hollywood. He's the new fresh prince of fashion, breaking down barriers in genderless clothing. He's proven he's an "ICON" of rap with his debut album SYRE, and is following his dad's footsteps in the acting world. Now, the MSFTS leader has his mind set on a tackling a much more larger beast, Earth's sustainability.
In 2015, Jaden helped create the company JUST water, the only US-sourced spring water bottled in a paper-based carton that gives back directly and tangibly to the community from which it came—through its equitable partnership with the city of Glens Falls, New York. The brand is leading the charge in the rapidly evolving boxed water category through its paper-based carton and plant-based plastic cap made from Brazilian sugarcane using 82% renewable materials.
The brand is now taking on the flavored-water market with a new JUST Infused collection."We infuse the essence of the fruit into the water instead of just pouring a flavor into it and mixing it around," Jaden explains. The line is made up of organic "infused" 100% pure spring waters with three available flavors including organic apple cinnamon, organic tangerine, and organic lemon. The water will drop in March and be sold at Amazon and Whole Foods for $1.99.
As Jaden Smith is set out to change the world, we caught up with him to discuss more on JUST Infused, the importance of renewable resources, space traveling with Elon Musk, and much more. Read the full interview below.
What made you want to start JUST water?
What really made me want to get into JUST was the fact that I was learning about the Pacific patches in the ocean and I was learning about the plastic bottles of water that are just floating around in the ocean. That's what really made me want to start to make a difference and start to change the world. Then I realized that there was not really any alternatives out in the world that I could have on a consistent basis that could replace these plastic bottles of water that were floating around in the ocean.
I wanted to have an alternative. I don't want to feel like I'm sinning every time I'm taking a sip of water. I want to have something I can feel good about that I can feel like it's changing the world. I'm not only being neutral with the world, I'm actually making the world a better place. That's when I was like, if I can feel that way, that would be amazing. But then if everybody else could feel that way, that's a dream come true.
Have you always wanted to be an advocate for the environment?
I've just always wanted to be an advocate of humanity, and I feel like people don't realize how much it harms them that the plastics are in the ocean, then they breakdown, they turn to micro-plastics, and then the fish eat them, and then we eat the fish. So the plastic that we produce ends up in our digestive systems. Then there's a lot of problems that come along with that. A lot of things that science is going to begin to understand, like "oh wow, this has actually been killing us and we had no idea." Like when people thought that cigarettes were good for them.
Tell me about JUST Infused and the goal you hope to achieve with it?
We've realized that people really like flavored waters, and we didn't really want to make a flavored water, so we decided to make an infused water where we infuse the essence of the fruit into the water instead of just pouring a flavor into it and mixing it around. We decided to do that because people feel like, "hey, I love JUST, but I also love flavored water." So, we were like, let's give people an alternative to normal water and to flavored water. Start growing JUST and expanding in a way that people want to receive it.
All organic ingredients?
Yes, all organic. Yes.
You've posted a video unveiling a material made out of recycled water bottles, and mentioned that everything should be made from this, can you elaborate on that?
Yeah, that's something that I'm really passionate about and it's like my next horizon now that JUST has been created. The next thing I want to do is start recycling plastic and turning it into even doper things. A lot of times when plastic gets recycled it gets recycled into something that's less useful than the original purpose of what it was, but I want to start taking a bunch of bottles of water and turning them into tables, desks, chairs, all different types of things. Re-innovating furniture, iPhone cases, just simple things that can be made out of this recycled plastic. I want to start doing that and help the world in that type of way, or else it's just going to keep ending up in the ocean and killing animals. Then it's going to be us that they're cutting open and finding us full of plastic.
The word "sustainability" seems to be the focal point of the environmental work that you create. How important is that word to you?
I feel like sustainability is a word that I use so much because I'm trying to sustain planet Earth, the life that we have. The way that we're gathering our energy and the way that we make our consumer products as of right now, it isn't sustainable, meaning that we will not be able to sustain them for much longer. So in 2050, there's going to be 50 million climate refugees. That's really bad.
So when I say sustainable, I just really want to create a closed loop cycle to where we manufacture bottles, but then we take those bottles when we're done with them, and we turn them into lights or something.
Speaking on fashion, many see you as an style icon for being an advocate for unisex clothing, and mixing mens and womenswear in your own outfits. Where do you see the future of genderless clothing going?
Even with fashion, no one wants to look the same. You want to have a different range, a different spectrum from other people. So I feel like in the future, people are going to have to do the same thing that we're doing with plastic, with clothes, with fashion. So this is just the start.
I mean, Balenciaga just did the first men's and women's fashion show together, right? They had a whole family walking down the runway. I feel like they got to it. I feel like people are starting to realize what's happening. Everybody knows what's coming and where it's going. I'm excited for it and I was so excited to see Balenciaga doing that because with MSFTS, that was my thing, always. We just make clothes in general and whoever wears them, wears them. That's where I really think it's going, but who knows these days? Life is crazy.
Elon Musk is another big advocate for using renewable resources. How big of an inspiration is he for you?
He is one of the most inspirational people alive right now because he really changed all of our lives. He brought us all so much closer to space travel than anyone has ever brought us before. He reduced the cost of space travel by 70%, and I feel like what's happening with the water bottle industry is what used to happen in the rocket industry. They used to send rockets in space and they used to just let them fall into the ocean, just like water bottles, and they would just go to the bottom of the ocean and they would decompose like water bottles.
Then, Elon Musk had the bright idea like "so, this multi-million dollar rocket that we built, how about this, let's not just blow it up and send it into the ocean. How about maybe let's bring it back down and reuse it?"
Boom! Mind explode. It's not as simple as that because there's so much science that goes behind it, but now it's fully functioning, it's 100% working, so it's like he really changed humanity forever with that bright idea. What he did with rocket ships is what I'm trying to do with bottles of water. So yeah, he is one of my biggest role models and one of my biggest inspirations.
Have you guys ever come in contact with each other?
Yeah. We've talked a little bit. I honestly start geeking out every time. There's no one I get nervous to talk to, but when I saw him I just froze. I didn't know what to say. I was like, "I like Teslas."
Would you ever go to space if he ever offered you a ride on the SpaceX Falcon 9?
He said that I could go! He said it's like $100 million per ticket. So, there's no way now, but when he brings it down I could legitimately go. Anybody that has $100 million to give to him, he said you could really go to space. I was like, "That's hilarious." That's so funny. So one day he's going to bring that down and down and down, eventually it's going to be $20,000 to go to space probably. It's going to be crazy.
Have you seen Black Panther yet?
Yeah, I saw it twice!
What's your review?
I love it. I think it's amazing. It has a 100% for me. Dr. Strange was my favorite Marvel movie ever, but now this is my favorite Marvel movie ever. There's no Marvel movies even like it. It has a story structure that's different than other films. I was in the middle of it like where is this going? I was trying to think of the end. Where is this going to end? But then it just seamlessly falls into this story frame that you start to recognize and that is just amazing.
Have you seen the Black Panther "ICON" parody video that's gone viral?
I was so confused. I was like was this made by Black Panther? Like who made this? Then I found out that Nerdist made it and then I was like, okay. Honestly, I'm still confused. I still don't know what happened. Who wrote the track?
Who came up with the choreography?!
Yes, who came up with choreography? Who did the CGI? Who's Tesla is that? I have so many questions!
Hilarious! With everything that you're doing with the environment, how did it feel to be recognized and celebrated for your achievements at the EMA awards?
It felt amazing. It felt really good because I really love the EMAs and I really appreciate all the love that they have shown. They even allowed me to be on the board now, so it felt really good to get that recognition back because I really do care about this. For people to realize that you care, that's a beautiful feeling.
Under a YouTube video of you educating kids on sustainability, I found a comment saying "I'm proud to be living in Jaden's generation." What's an important accomplishment that you want your generation to achieve?
That's really dope! I'd really like my generation to accomplish starting the industry of recycling old bottles of water and turning them into new things. I want that to be the coal mining for us. I want that to be the new industry that people are getting jobs from, building economies around, building cities around, and creating a new world. I feel like the new industries are like solar panels, hydrogen, and also creating new ways of recycling.
Like Elon Musk going to space and stuff, there's going to be people that are really interested in going to Mars and colonizing new places and just starting over the right way. Then there's going to be people that are really interested in fixing what's going on down here. I just hope that people just continue to become more aware, educate, and I hope that people open more schools, and just all good things like that.
Jaden's JUST water is gearing up to launch their new JUST Infused collection in March. For more information about the product and it's environmental benefits head over to the brand's site.
Also, check out our cover story featuring the "ICON" rapper.