Willow’s Body Is Her Own: Jada Pinkett-Smith Responds To Willow’s Hair Critics

35 comments
November 25, 2012 ‐ By
"Willow PF"

Dominic Chan/WENN.com

From ESSENCE

Ever since Willow Smith was old enough to whip her hair, that’s all folks seemed to talk about. But the starlet’s mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, is finally giving her take on things declaring her daughter is not her hair.

In a short note on her Facebook wall, Jada wrote that Willow won’t be a slave to preconceived ideas of what “little girls should be.” Written to a friend, she says, “The question why I LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination.”

You can check out the full note over on ESSENCE.

What do you think? Is there a limit to a child’s freedom of expression?

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  • http://twitter.com/CheezyLove1126 Chelly LvULongTime

    This situation is much more than a hairdo than ppl realize. Its the fact that these parents let their child who isnt even a teen yet, do whatever she sees fit. Be a parent first, not a friend, and that is why we have so many kids now these days doing wrong things and ending up ruining their lives, because parents arent doing their duty. Children need guidance and authority. They will always push the envelope and u have to be the one to seal it. First its clothes, then its hair; soon it will be tats and piercings and so on. Maybe for her she doesnt care since this is “Hollywood” and really anything goes but this would not be acceptable for the average child in America

  • Cesa

    It’s the parent, Jada, who is the problem. Children will do what we as responsible adults will allow them to do. Willow needs boundaries. Jada needs help with parenting skills.

  • DoinMe

    I find her entire statement peculiar. She writes it as if she’s writing about herself , her feelings, and her own personal hangups/issues, not what Willow wants. I have always felt that Jada was living vicariously through Willow. Jada can say whatever she wants and raise her child how she sees fit, but Willow ALWAYS looks sad and depressed. Clearly, there’s something wrong.

    • Na Na

      Wow, I thought I was the only one who notices how sad she appears. Even through all of her smiling she always seems kind of sad. Could be just camera jitters but Ive noticed too. Or like she’s always in super deep thought…at 12.

      • DoinMe

        “Even through all of her smiling she always seems kind of sad.” YES! I see it too in her eyes. Her tweets are even dark and depressing at times. At 12, a child shouldn’t have a care in the world and should be happy. I don’t hardly see that with little Willow.

  • Meyaka

    Also, why is it that black people love to bring up a “white” example of
    similar failure? it doesn’t help your point at all, what is this monkey
    see,monkey do? if a white person drown their kids, will your drown yours as well? pff….

  • Meyaka

    Willow wearing short hair is not a problem to me, i love short hair, i wear it often,I am one of those woman who will rock an Afro, short do, twists and other natural hair styles, willow wearing the skittles color in her hair is a little too much for me but i get it, she is a child and children play.
    I am more concerned with her being photographed on a stripper pole or wearing a “fake” tongue piercing, but it isn’t my child and i don’t care, however she turns out in the future won’t affect me.

  • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

    I have no problem with the hair. But i still think willow is acting too damn grown for her age regardless. She needs to go somewhere and be a kid, and quit trying to be a lil rihanna, because that’s exactly where she is heading. Too much social networking, too much exposure. Her whole identity is being built around being famous, not being grounded.

    • Meyaka

      Exactly

  • TeahMonae

    I don’t have children so I can admit that I don’t know the half of it…. And everyone raises their children how they see fit. I will say though, that the Smiths live in a different world than we do, where a lot more is considered acceptable. The Smith children are taught by tutors and their world is music videos and movie sets, not classrooms and Girl/ Boy Scouts so I’m not sure if the same “rules” apply. I get Jada’s point but I was raised that some/ most decisions are made for you by your parents until a time where it is deemed that you have shown maturity, responsibility and capability to make good decisions for yourself. I’m not sure if this is right or wrong but it’s the way I was raised and more than likely the way that I would raise my children if I had them.

  • JaneDoe

    the Smith’s practice scientology. For those familiar with that cult members allow their children to be their own individual. they do not set rules or have standards to which their children are raised. Jada has stated in prior interviews that she is her kids partners not their parent. to each his/her own. We’ll just have to wish this child the best and watch for the ending results

    • http://twitter.com/CheezyLove1126 Chelly LvULongTime

      wow. Not to down anyone’s religion but that Scientology mess is a bunch of BS. I sideways glance at anyone who is a part of that religion, smmfh

  • klynn

    Why are we always talking about “this” childs hair style! It’s her hair for God’s sake. The majority of her mother’s hairs styles are weaves! At lease the child is sporting her own hair. She is not like all oher children, she is the child of celebs, she need something of her own to express herself and for her it’s her hair.

  • Candacey Doris

    I don’t get why cutting her hair is so bad to people. It’s HAIR. It looks god on her, is easy to maintain, and isn’t some crazy patchy hairstyle, so why get on her?/ Pay attention to your own hair.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taryn.swain1 Taryn Bryant

    I am not my hair… I am not this skin… I am not you expectations No… India Arie.
    What is wrong with the girl experimenting with her look? What business is it of anyone’s? Angelina Jolie lets her daughter dress like a boy and call herself Ben, no one says boo. Being young is the time to work out your identity and your preferences. I applaud her for wanting to mix it up and her mom for letting her. If many more people did it when they were young, they wouldn’t be so messed up now.

  • Alexa

    Raising your children to express their individuality is a good thing but I think it should only be done to a certain extent. Parents lay the foundation for their children, that’s what they’re there for. She has plenty of time to express the full extent of her individuality when she becomes a young adult and has reached a full level of maturity. I’m sure we all have stories where our mother’s or father’s have held us back from doing certain things as children/teenagers because they knew we weren’t able to fully comprehend the seriousness of our decisions. Now is cutting hair serious? Of course not, but what’s next? Am I reaching? Maybe, but I remember the girls in elementary school who’s mothers let them express their individuality through acrylic nails and getting their eyebrows done and the last I heard of them they were individually raising their children as teen moms. I wish Jada and Willow the best though, it may work for them. Only time will tell.

    • http://www.facebook.com/minkysmom82 Alexis Morris

      ugh my cousin was one of those moms. kids had to be getting their
      eyebrows waxed, legs waxed, fake weave-ins, acrylic nails all in late
      elementary school and middle school.. by the time h.s. came along she
      was letting her daughter make the decisions to drink wine coolers and
      get high, racy words and things tatooed in her mouth and not sneaking either,
      right out in the open.

      • Alexa

        Yes girl! This is exactly what I mean. Some mothers make the mistake of letting their children grow up too fast. It starts off harmless but once they get older it can get out of control, and fast! That’s why I feel like children need boundaries set in place at a young age. I’m glad my mom did that with me. I’m not perfect but I’m definitely doing good for myself as a young adult. Like I said though maybe this style of parenting works for Jada and only time will tell.

  • Angela Ingram

    Both points are very good. Yes, the child has her own identity and it’s good for her to “explore” (e.i. art, music, talent, etc…) that but it should happen ONLY with the GUIDANCE of her parents. Our calling as parents is to be good stewards over our children. Truth is…the child need to know who is in charge and as a youth, the parent is in charge of her body and what she does with her life, until she becomes an adult. With all that being said, I think she’s been a good responsible young girl and her hair is not offensive so people should back off on the negative comments on this child’s hair.

    • Guest

      I meant i.e. Oops hehehe.

  • http://twitter.com/confidentlyinC confidentlyinChrist

    Boundaries are not always a BAD thing…
    ~this moment of sanity was brought to you by confidentlyinChrist~

    • Meyaka

      Thank you, people letting this children do whatever,whenever, and then get shocked at the results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/minkysmom82 Alexis Morris

    I dont mind so much that she let’s willow cut her hair and stuff, but willow needs to go somewhere and sit down. the lesson it seems like willow is learning is to do ANYTHING to be seen on gossip sites and tv shows, but how is that any different than what someone like snooki is doing. the hairstyles are just attention getters.

    • http://twitter.com/ohheyjeannette Jeannette

      I agree. That child… yes child needs to sit down somewhere. Be known for something else.

      • http://www.facebook.com/minkysmom82 Alexis Morris

        yeah like doing good in school or something.

    • Alohilani

      How many TV shows have you seen Willow on? I haven’t seen her on any. And as far as her being on gossip sites, that is the doing of adults who feel the need to pick on a child for her fashion and hair style choices.

      • Na Na

        I actually saw her on 106 and Park when “Whip My Hair” came out, they presented her with a small paque and excitedly asked her to read it to the audience to share in her congratulations…..until she stumbled over soo many words that Rocsi took the plaque and read the simple text of, “congratulations Willow on your success of blah blah blah…” It reminded me so much of Wacka Flacka saying he would major in college in geometry. SMH

        • NoahsPooh

          Yes…I heard about that…..can’t read…she nor her brother.

        • http://www.facebook.com/minkysmom82 Alexis Morris

          omg! I hope she was just nervous and not simpleminded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lwhitmire1 Leslie Whitmire

    What’s funny is, women of color in Africa often times wear their hair short, but here its seen as challenging the norm. Its unfortunate that African Americans value Eurocentric standards of beauty more than our own. And as far as having her abide by “regular” standards, that’s asking her to live by the status quo instead of embracing her individuality. Why are black people hell bent on not letting their children be individuals? We treat our children as if we should control every facet of their lives. They are human being first and foremost. Your job is to nurture them, not suppress who they are. I swear we need to break outta that massa mentality.

    • SheBe

      You seem to have misunderstood what I meant by referring to us “regular” folks when referring to appearance. Children, for the most part, can’t go to school with hair the color of the rainbow. Adults most likely wont get a job with the same. In Hollywood, anything goes. The status quo doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I think what people see in Willow is a child seeking attention not someone being themselves but I digress. In America, we have to teach our children to take that extra mile in everything that they do because the color of their skin will ALWAYS be the first thing seen. We have to be beyond the best to get ahead. You don’t have to have that massa mentality or follow the status quo necessarily but understand the implication of your choices. So it’s not always about not letting our children be individuals but instilling a deeper value for their future. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand what you and what Jada means about allowing your child to develop their own imagination about their identity. It’s good for them. Women of color here are embracing their natural appearance, whether it be by short and “nappy” hair or no make up or whatever, and I think it’s great. I don’t think it’s seen as challenging the norm but that’s just me. I respect your viewpoint and I do understand. I also think we point out our differences as African Americans for scrutiny more than we should but that’s a ‘nother issue in itself.

      • nikki

        I disagree with some of your statements. Children can go to school despite their hair color. I’ve never seen anyone turned away because their haircolor was a distraction. In the workforce, it depends on where you work. For a an artist type job, employers most likely will be indifferent towards hair color. In business, thats the opposite. Willow is a different case since she doesn’t have to worry about money for the rest of her life. We should NOT look towards celeb parents as guidance towards raising our kids.But I agree with the main focal point of your paragraph. Us minorities have to work extra hard in order to be successful.

        • Na Na

          Now I have to disagree with you, every school Ive ever attended (Im 27 and in grad school and even they have parameters) has kicked children out and would definitely not allow Willow to attend school with these wild hair colors and cuts. do I agree or disagree….that’s irrelevant….but your statement about all these hair colors and cuts is just not true.

  • KamJos

    Good for Jada. Really tired of all the concern-trolling about Willow. Honestly, she’ll be fine.

  • SheBe

    Although I understand Jada’s points about allowing her daughter to choose her own identity/definition of who she is, I have to respectfully disagree. This child has all of her life to define and then probably redefine who she is. We don’t know what goes on in the home and she will definitely not have to uphold to the same principles of appearance that “regular” (not rich) folks have to abide by. Jada seems to very sure about her parenting style and what works best for her family. I think that’s all that matters; what works best for them (at least until it negatively affects those around them).