Jaden Smith Advocates for Clean Water for Flint at Environmental Media Awards

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Jaden Smith

"I wanted to create something to give to Flint so they could get bigger quantities of clean water to use," the actor said, explaining why he had built a portable water filtration system for families in Flint, Michigan.

Jaden Smith, Constance Zimmer, Nikki Reed, Malin Akerman, and Emmanuelle Chriqui all walked the green carpet at the Montage Beverly Hills on Thursday night to celebrate the 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards.

The EMAs honor movies, television shows and individuals who raise awareness and put forth a positive message about important environmental issues.

The evening began with a cocktail reception on the Montage deck, which also showcased a number of environmentally sustainable consumer products that included clothing by H&M made from recycled and environmentally sustainable resources, non-toxic home cleaning products from Eccos and organic gardening soil from Kellogg Garden Products.

Smith’s plus-one to the event was a large blue box meant to remove toxins from large quantities of drinking water, which he built for the people of Flint, Michigan.

Speaking to reporters, the actor and environmental activist explained why he thought this was a vital project to support. 

“I’ve been following the crisis in Flint for a very long time, and we started off by sending bottles of water. But I felt like that wasn’t enough, because people were showering with bottles of water, and they need more," he said. "I wanted to create something to give to Flint so they could get bigger quantities of clean water to use for cooking, for showering. They have to use it for everything.”

The awards were held in the Montage’s Monarch ballroom, where guests were served a shaved apple, goat cheese and arugula salad and an entree of miso salmon on a bed of forbidden rice. There was also a vegan dinner option for those who wanted a more sustainable meal.

Reed told THR how she worked through her husband Ian Somerhalder’s foundation to educate children on the importance of valuing their environment.

“Part of the goal of this foundation is to make young people understand that every little thing we do can make a difference," she said. "When you teach a kid how to plant a seed, they learn how to grow a plant, they learn how to water a plant, they learn how to nurture a plant, and then they learn what the consequences of picking that plant or eating that plant may be, and there’s something so rewarding for a child to learn how to grow their own food.”

Karrueche Tran served as the evening's host, and she helped give the ceremony a livelier and more party-like atmosphere than a traditional awards show. The host and presenters interacted with a boisterous crowd, and at one point Tran ran offstage to grab a quick picture with longtime environmental activist Ed Begley Jr..

Lance Bass, a longtime supporter of the EMAs and currently a co-chairman of the board, spoke to THR about the importance of acting both globally and locally when working to improve the environment.

“I shot in the Dominican Republic for a few months, and our crew got together and raised money to build water wells," he said. "Just to see these towns get fresh water for the first time was so incredible, and it didn’t take much time at all to do it or a lot of money to raise.”

One of the evening's more somber moments came when it was announced that the TV comedy award was being named after Paul Junger Witt, an environmental activist and the producer of classic TV shows such as Golden Girls, Blossom and Herman’s Head, who passed away in 2018.

The night’s big winners included Isle of Dogs for best feature, Eating Animals for best documentary and The Black List for best television drama.