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Sorry Willow…


I just tried to watch Whip My Hair from Willow Smith. Didn’t anybody tell her stylist that the Bedazzler is for clothes, not eyelashes, fingernails, & lips? Los Angelista says Willow sings “I whip my hair back and forth!” sixty-seven times in three minutes. I’ll have to take her word for it… I quit after about 27. I couldn’t take the remaining 40. Which is sad, because I’ve always thought Willow was a cute little girl. Being a fan of both her parents, I’d kinda looked forward to seeing what talents she would develop. Even sadder, I’ve always admired Will Smith & Jada Pinkett-Smith for holding together a marriage and raising a family without allowing themselves or their children to be turned into a spectacle. I think they dropped the ball with this one.     

In an interview, Willow stated the song is about being yourself. The thing is, I didn’t see a nine year old girl, one who is most likely incredibly talented, anywhere in the video. I didn’t see or hear anything “real”… all I saw was a hyper processed, precocious display that lacked authenticity or any semblance of talent. I read several articles where Willow was compared to Rihanna (shudder), but I closed my browser thinking I’d just seen the Brittany Spears of my daughter’s generation. Jay Smooth had this to say in an NPR interview,     

“The actual song is so heavily processed and produced that it’s hard to tell whether she can sing or not. And the video is so heavily edited you can’t tell for sure how well she can dance. I think she probably is very talented, but they’ve put her into such a processed pop vehicle that it makes talent irrelevant — as much of today’s pop commodities do.”         

I know that there is a severe shortage of diversity in the tween pop circuit. I know that our young girls are hungering for positive reflections of themselves in media. So I understand the appeal of the video, the temptation to take what we can get, even the justification that something is better than nothing.     

And I hate to write this because who wants to bash a 9 year old? Especially a kid as cute as Willow Smith? But I’m going to have to say thanks but no thanks. I’ll pass on the Kool-Aid this time around and stick with Sesame Street.     


Whip My Hair won’t be getting any playtime on my computer, MP3, or ringtone, and neither will Willow Smith until she starts looking her age… which is what I expect of my own 7-11 year old daughters.     

‘I Love My Hair’: A Father’s Tribute To His Daughter : NPR

A little Muppet girl has started a sensation. The brown doll with a beautifully kinky mop of hair sings “I Love My Hair.” The song was written by Joey Mazzarino, Sesame Street’s head writer. He wrote the song to help his adopted daughter celebrate herself and, of course, her hair. 

via www.npr.org

The Trouble With Nine-Year-Old Pop Stars

Jay Smooth says both the song and the video are so processed it’s impossible to tell.

via news.opb.org

The Best Week Ever For Black Girls

NPR producer Veronica Miller says it’s been a great week for girls of color. Two videos — one with a muppet, the other by a budding child star — are circulating the web and helping young girls celebrate their beauty and individuality.

via www.npr.org

Sesame Street Presents: Whip My Hair (No really, look.)

I wish I could embed audio of me yelling “REEEEEMIIIIIIIIX” but alas, that require way more attention than my ADD addled brain can put forth. Apparently everybody minus 7 people LOVES this “Whip My Hair” song. So of course somebody was going to mix it with Sesame Street’s Black Girl Hair video. Check it out.

via thisweekinblackness.com

I Don’t Feel The Need To Just Whip My Hair

It should be noted that the Smith children have opportunities that far exceed the average child.  They have great potential.  But with that potential, they should understand that they have great responsibilities as well.  It’s not always going to be to their advantage to be the focus of everybody’s interest.  It is not in these children’s interests to serve as the distraction that keeps the majority of us from focusing on what should be important in our lives.  What are the issues facing the black community these days?  Who cares?  Willow Smith has just released an album and you’ve just got to hear it!  Whip your hair around.  And if you get dizzy in the process don’t stop, just do it faster.

via brotherpeacemaker.wordpress.com

Do I Want to Whip My Hair Back and Forth with Nine Year-Old Willow Smith?

Can’t you just see the self-esteem of black children everywhere skyrocketing as Willow’s career blows up? And screw all those stuffy education reformers who think teachers having high expectations is the key to changing public education. Pfft! Black kids need only whip their hair and shake the haters off, and the achievement gap will begin to close!

via www.losangelista.com

  1. October 23, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    My kids, 6 and 4 will not watch BET. That is, until they saw this video. Being white kids they had never seen anything like it, and it exposed to them to all the different ways hair can be worn by black kids, and had some fabulous dancers that were dancing in a non-sexual manner. The hair whip dance can also be traced back to the drag scene in the new York 70’s, so seeing that in a mainstream video also made it something I liked for my kids to see. However, I also would not mind if my daughter bedazzled herself to death, but at 6 she expressed no wish to have diamonds on her lips or whip her hair around with paint in it. I like the imagery of celebrating all the differences painting the boring white world full of color. So I liked the video, but am in a completely different place with my kids’ ages and them being white.

    • October 24, 2010 at 7:48 AM

      Shawna, thanks for commenting. Your perspective is always appreciated. I’m thankful that there are white parents of white kids that seek out diversity in mainstream media. I was thinking about your comment all day yesterday… I was really troubled by some of the things you said, not because you said anything wrong, but because it brought me to another facet (or two) that I hadn’t considered. I’m trying to sort through that, though. I’ll comment again as I process the bits and peices.

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