It takes a lot to break the internet but leave it to the Smiths, in this case Jada Pinkett Smith, to reign over Twitter and usher in one of the greatest new memes of 2020. Over the weekend of July 10th, Twitter blew up as news broke of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith both confirmed her connection to American singer August Alsina. We know it was a romantic relationship because it was confirmed by Alsina himself.
However, the best part about all of this media frenzy that’s come out isn’t really the details on The Smiths personal life and history. No. The real nugget of this whole moment is Jada Pinkett Smith uttering the instantly iconic phrase, "I got into an entanglement.” This right here this is what we’re here to talk about. Because as soon as Pinkett Smith said this Twitter and TikTok wasted no time in low key airing their own laundry and their own entanglements.
If you head to Twitter and type in #entanglement I guarantee you will find a rich set of memes, GIFs, and edits that leave you in tears. In trying to write this post I got sucked into #entanglement and I had to pull myself out. One could say I was in an entanglement with Twitter… See I was in an entanglement with my phone, but for Millennials and Gen Z what they think this word means is a bit different from what I mean.
Below are screenshots of some of my favorite memes:
One thing we have to discuss is while entanglement actually means one thing, the connotation that’s circulating is coming from the context of Pinkett Smith’s utterance. While the denotation of entanglement just means being tied up in a complex situation, the way #entanglement is being used refers to a relationship that’s either romantic or sexual. It took Urban Dictionary almost no time to answer people’s question of, “What does entanglement mean?”
We have to remember that Urban Dictionary is crowd sourced platform, meaning that people can create their own definitions and others vote on it. Essentially people are creating discourse, yeah, sorry for the big words, on words that already exist. It's actually so interesting to think about how we're making meaning around things that already exist... Anyways here's what UD has has their top definition for the now infamous word.
Some of my favorite ways I’ve seen people say that they were in entanglements is in memes about them avoiding work, talking about their hookups, or just as excuses for almost anything. If I were to tell my boss, whose much older than me, that I missed a meeting because of an entanglement I don't think he'd question me. It would essentially mean the same as I was busy with something else. However, if my friend asked me why I didn't reply to them and I said, "I was in an entanglement" it would totally mean something else. "Spill the T!" is probably how my friend would respond.
This is all to say that it should come as no shocker that words definitions sometimes don't translate across generations. I am in Gen Z and I know both what this world actually means what what Jada Pinkett Smith's entanglement means. Just know how you're using this word and who you're using it with. Because you don't want to have to untangle yourself out of some drama should you say you're in an entanglement. But now the question arises, how do you know if you know if you're in one of these complex situations?
How do you know if you're in an ENTANGLEMENT?
When people my age are talking about being in entanglements with their hookups, or exes, or friends with benefits, it's more of a play on the complicated depth of Pinkett Smith's statement. I think that if you're in an entanglement you know it. You know when you're in a bad relationship. And just like The Smiths talked about their issues and getting out of it, if we feel tied up in a mess we have to undo it too.
While people are parodying Pinkett Smith’s line I must say that I respect her and Will Smith for being honest and open the way they have. Talking about relationship issues and marital issues, especially in such a public way, takes guts and real courage.
We can all keep saying that we’re in #entanglements but it’s worth remembering that sometimes we also do need to get untangled back up.
Let me know, did you know what entanglement meant or did you have to look it up? Or, what's your favorite #entanglement meme? If you liked this post make sure to share it and tag me @ Willsshowem so I can entangle you in a social media shoutout!
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Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.