At the time of writing this post, Black Twitter was in a frenzy of retweeting links. I refuse to be ashamed at how enthused I was to see the new video for Willow Smith’s single Whip My Hair. It’s a catchy little pop tune that doesn’t feature rude boys giving it up, or brushing teeth with a bottle of Jack… It is the simple pleasure of whipping your hair back and forth, and not letting the ubiquitous ‘haterz’ get you off your grind. Which shows an admirable work ethic for a 9 year old, no?
Of course, Willow isn’t just any old 9 year old popstar – she is the seed of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. This means she was born cooler than regular folks thanks to her gene pool, and then once in the world, an entire drawerful of silver cutlery was put into her mouth before she was told to go forth and conquer. Inasmuch as we can never truly grasp how the Smiths raise their children – Jaden in The Pursuit of Happyness and the recent Karate Kid remake, Trey in the Just The Two Of Us video notwithstanding – I like to think they have instilled in their children a confidence which, I daresay, is missing from many children of clour. I mean, it’s hardly surprising given the success that already exists in her family, but I think it’s admirable nonetheless.
I like the video – I think it’s playful, fun and crucially, age-appropriate. I remember getting braids done around that age and indeed whipping my hair back and forth in a not dissimilar manner. I like that her dancers are young, and the choreography is not raunchy – it looks like a celebration of movement; joy evident in every step. I especially love the dress up and paint element of it – which is what 9 year olds do. It’s a great video for a great pop song. I, a 27 year old woman, have danced to it many times in my flat. And yes, I whipped my hair every time.
Now, I do wish she was older than 9 (!). Even in her relatively cosseted existence, it can’t be easy to take on scrutiny and criticism from strangers the world over. Then again, I can’t think of many safer places to be embarking on a pop career than under the roof of Will Smith – a man who was a teenage star, got divorced and went bankrupt before becoming one of the world’s most bankable stars. The Smiths seem to have a good hold on the situation. That’s good enough for me. So join me in ignoring the haters and whipping your hurr. Just like this:
*Thanks to Danielle for the link to that ‘mazing gif*