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Finding the message within

Posted: October 28, 2010 6:51 p.m.
Updated: October 29, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Apparently, Willow Smith likes to whip her hair back and forth.

And not only that, when she “pulls up” she “whips it real hard.”

Well, at least that’s what she said about a bazillion times in her catchy, addictive and somewhat annoying pop song, aptly titled “Whip My Hair.”

Since Willow Smith’s debut single was “leaked” onto the Internet several weeks ago, she has exploded onto the pop culture scene -- recently signing onto rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation recording label, securing a front row seat at the Armani fashion show during Milan’s Fashion Week, employing a legion of fashion stylists and scheduling a performance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

She’s received mostly positive reviews by TIME, Billboard and CNN, and has often been dubbed as the next Rihanna.

With an amazingly mature (and undoubtedly auto tuned) voice and attitude to match, it’s hard to imagine that the false eyelash-wearing diva-in-training still has most of her baby teeth.

Wait, did I forget to mention that she’s only 9 years old?

Since releasing her mega-budget music video several days ago, many bloggers and reporters have praised Willow's sass and creativity while critics have blasted her parents – actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith -- for allowing their daughter to embark on a music career before she’s even reached a double-digit age.

Granted, in Will and Jada’s defense, young Willow has never dressed in anything revealing or acted wildly inappropriately.

Sure, she wears fake jewels on her upper lip and eyelids, has long fingernails painted in bright colors and sports a cotton candy-colored pouf and sky-high Mohawk, but it’s still done in a fun, kid-friendly and age-appropriate way.

Besides, let’s remember that it could always be worse. I mean, have you even seen Miley Cyrus’ latest music video?
And while several parents have raised concerns about the devastating effect that too much fame could have on a young star (i.e., Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Lindsey Lohan), my guess is that those parents are far more concerned about the effect that Willow could have on their own young and impressionable daughters.

We’ve all had front row seats to what happens when kids are thrust into the entertainment industry at an extremely young age.

And we've all had front row seats to the negative impact that carnage has on our young girls, who seem all too willing to pounce on whatever's popular at the moment.

But "Whip My Hair" actually has a great message for young girls.

It tells kids, especially young black girls, that whatever kind of hair you have, you can be proud of it and just have fun being yourself -- in spite of what anyone else wants you to be.

And with Will and Jada saying that they will do everything in their power to make sure that their daughter retains her innocence and stays grounded, or at least as grounded as a princess of Hollywood royalty getting ready to embark on a tour can get, I'd venture to say that most parents can breathe a sigh of relief.

So whether or not Will and Jada made the right choice in allowing their daughter to become a star at such a young age is debatable.

Should Willow spend more time working on, say, perfecting long division and multiplication tables instead of jet-setting around the country?


But in the meantime, I don’t see anything wrong with her putting out positive music for youth, and having them dance to her shake-the-haters-off-and-just-have-fun anthem.

Just don’t forget to whip your hair.


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