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.
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.
Jay Smooth says both the song and the video are so processed it’s impossible to tell.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop. ‘Cause I love what I got on top. It’s curly and it’s brown and it’s right up there! You know what I love? That’s right, my hair! I really love my hair!
Daija is spending the week with Biker Grandma & Grandpa… this is the hairstyle she went with. From what I hear, it’s holding up really well and has been very popular around town. We’ll see how it looks when I pick her up on Saturday! Fingers crossed… you know we’ve had trouble when Daija went to visit family in years past!
Today’s grats will be short and sweet… I’m driving Daija up to visit Biker Dad today & have some last minute packing and hair to do so we can get this show on the road.
- Tyler goes back to school this week. That boy has eaten the better part of four loaves of bread and a jar of peanut butter this week.
- The girls have fall break this week. It will be nice not to worry about hair or be rushing a little girl who had time for lip gloss but forgot to brush her teeth until it was time to leave. *SMH*
- Speaking of Biker Dad, I am also very thankful for him and my Aunt Laura. It’s been a joy having them in my life this past year.
- I must also give thanks to my Aunt Joyce, who has also been a joy to me. She never stopped hoping we’d be reunited and never stopped looking for me. Had it not been for her hope and faith, we all would be missing so much.
So today could probably be considered a “co-parenting fail”
I went to the airport to pick up the girls and their dad. I saw my baby girl’s head and just LOST IT. Halle’s hair was cornrowed neatly, and Daija looked like Orphan Annie on a bad day. From what I can gather, by the time anybody bothered with her hair, it was so matted & tangled she cried when they tried to comb it… which means they tried to comb it dry.
Oh, I was so mad. I lit into What’s His Name with a vengeance… and pointed out that Daija had spent a week with my stepmom and a week with my sister over the summer & didn’t come home looking like this… AND THEY’RE WHITE PEOPLE… as in DAY-GLO ANGLO. People don’t come much whiter.
I washed, conditioned it twice, then left conditioner on in a cap for 2+ hours, then conditioned it again… and still had to cut a couple matts out of her hair. I’ve never had to do that with either of the girls before… I think I cried more than Daija did while I was combing this mess out.
So Christie asked if I’d come up with any good responses to the infamous “What are they?” question, or ways to handle the zooing/petting. No pressures, she says.
When the kids (and I) were younger, I rarely hesitated to respond with a snappy comeback or snide response. Where’d my 2yo get his curly hair? I permed it. Is she yours? No, I just thought she was cute so I snatched her from a cart outside.
But as the kids are growing up, so am I. As tempting as it is to fight fire with fire (a dumb (or rude) question deserves a dumb (or rude) answer)… something about it just doesn’t quite sit right with me.
First of all, there may come a time, particularly for my son, when a smart answer *I* encouraged might come out of his mouth at an inappropriate time. And it may jeopardize his physical well-being. I can’t afford to bank on the fact that I live in a changing society… there are some situations where what my child says, and the manner in which he says it, may have a profound impact on the outcome of that situation. Read more…