Willow Smith is a singer, musician, model and more and it is no doubt to the upbringing by her renowned parents, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Their style has been called unorthodox by many, though they’ve discussed their reasonings at length over the years. Now, daughter Willow has weighed in on their methods and how it has made her feel.
One of their main tenets seems to be pretty simple, “We respect our children the way we would respect any other person.” They’ve addressed their raising of their children in the press, much like they’ve had to do recently for their own marriage relationship, and Will’s not been shy about his thoughts on his children – and what others think.
When an interviewer praised Jaden and Willow’s “freedom of expression” and asked Smith if it was something that Will and Jada “consciously encouraged them to have,” Will replied jokingly with a laugh, “Yeah, I think it may have been a mistake.”
“I think we might have gone too far,” he repeated when talking to BBC interviewer A. Dot. “Jaden is 100 percent fearless, he will do anything. So, as a parent it’s scary, it’s really terrifying — but he is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions and he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think.”
Neither does sister Willow, and brother Jaden has even patterned himself after his older sister in a few ways – especially when it comes to how he does business.
The younger Smith famously asked to be emancipated and moved out of the house at a young age, so it makes sense that he hasn’t seemed to be caught up in their particular brand of family drama.
His older sister does seem to be an inspiration for Jaden’s name change, according to a recent interview Jaden gave Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, finally shedding some light on his decision a year ago.
“I realized that Willow changed her name to Willow at some point in time. And that she was no longer Willow Smith. Yeah, it took me a while. It took me a while. Because if you look Willow Smith up, it’ll still come up. But then it took me a while to see that it was just Willow. And I was like, ‘Yo. That’s so strong,'” said Jaden about his sister’s name choice.
“That’s strong. Willow. You feel like you don’t have to say your last name. You’re just Willow. I create different characters for myself and that’s also one of the reasons I love Bowie so much, but I create different characters for myself and it’s like, Jaden, that’s music and Jaden Smith, that’s 501(c)(3), that’s acting in movies. I wanted to just make that little distinction there, just a little bit, so that I could just … different things are happening.”
With the latest episode of Red Table Talk, Willow shared some of the reactions that she’s received over the perception that their parents gave people, especially Black people, about their upbringing in the Smith household. Willow said that the shaming from her own people about her and her brother’s sense of self-expression were big contributors.
“Specifically, with the African-American community, I kind of felt like me and Jaden were like shunned a little bit,” she said. “Like, ‘No, we’re not going to take pride in them ’cause they’re too different. They’re too weird.’”
“Even some of our family members,” she added. “I would feel they thought, ‘You’re too different.’”
Even Willow’s grandmother agreed that the philosophy of her daughter on how she raised her grandchildren was hard to accept at first, but Jada insists that she knew she was doing the right thing for her own children.
“For me, looking at how my children were being affected, that’s what counts. When people were like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you shaved Willow’s head!’ If they could have seen this child’s expression of freedom looking at her hair falling to the ground. Me as a mom, looking at that, experiencing that with her, there is nothing that anyone could say to me to tell me that it was wrong,” she finished.
See the episode below.