All Articles Tagged "JADEN"
Yup, he’s still talking. He’s still on the same subject too, but this time around Will Smith is expanding his musings on parenting beyond the Smith household to a few observations on African American parenting in general.
The actor sat down for a one-on-one with Haute Living to discuss his latest feature, After Earth, which he stars in alongside son Jaden, and the mag asked if there were any similarities behind the pair’s on-screen relationship and the one they share in real life. The 44-year-old said he and Jaden inevitably brought some of their own father-son dynamic to the characters, but the more interesting answer came when Will was asked whether there were any similarities between the way he was raised and how he’s raising his son and daughter. Here’s what he said.
“There are definite similarities. I grew up in a family business so my father, my mother and all my brothers and sisters worked in the family business, so that’s really the only way I know how to parent. In real situations, you are going out in the real world and you are earning real money. The things you say and do in the world will affect the family for real. My style of parenting is very similar to that of my parents, minus the concept of ownership. I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids. We respect our children the way we would respect any other person. Things like cleaning up their room. You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room, so we don’t tell our kids to clean their rooms. Actually, we tell our kids ‘you don’t have a room, that’s our room and we are letting you borrow it.’ So the same way you would say to an adult if you let them use car, you say, ‘Yo man, clean my car! Don’t drive around all filthy like that!’ And it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want an adult to clean your car, so we feel it’s perfectly reasonable to ask our kids to clean the rooms that we are letting them use.”
Well that’s an interesting nugget to think on. Slavery has certainly left African Americans with a number of mental scars and behaviors still running rampant today, but I wonder whether this is really one of them. I’ve most definitely witnessed the property dynamic among parent-child relationships but I’m not completely sure it’s a concept specific to African Americans or a result of enslavement. Plenty of parents, black, white, red, and yellow, seem to take an “I brought you into this world and I can take you out if you don’t fulfill the obligations laid out for you” approach to parenting simply because of the authority dynamic and the idea of giving life to someone and having control over how they live it as a result.
On a lighter note, Will addressed the emancipation talk that was spurred from another interview he and Jaden did in April. At the time, the hands-off dad seemed to be saying he was going to let his son emancipate himself and go out on his own at 14, but now he insists his mini-me isn’t going anywhere.
“Yeah, that was a joke! I made a joke. He is definitely not going anywhere; he is so scared of being out on his own. Willow is probably going to be emancipated before Jaden! I think I was in Tokyo where I made a joke that if he has a day where his movie is bigger than one of mine then there’s no reason for him to live in my house. His 15th birthday is coming up so he can probably be emancipated.”
Well that’s good to know. But back to this property business. Do you think African American parents tend to treat their kids as such because of slavery?
Will and Jada have been getting the side-eye for their parenting style ever since their daughter Willow went from whipping her hair back and forth to rocking technicolor low-cut fades every other week and posing next to stripper poles. Both parents have spoken out numerous times about their take on self-expression and what they do and don’t allow their kids to participate in, but I think Jada Pinkett just provided the last piece of the puzzle regarding her approach to raising two pre-teens.
“I think that old school style of ‘I’m your parent and I’m greater than you’ doesn’t work. What I establish with my children is a partnership. I’m not necessarily dictating what is happening in their lives.”
A lot of parents would likely disagree with that approach, especially when we’re talking about a 14-year-old boy (Jaden) and a 12-year-old girl (Willow). I wouldn’t say most mothers and fathers completely dictate their children’s lives but they do set age-appropriate parameters, which in this case most of the general public believes Willow and Jaden are lacking. In my mind, being a parent as opposed to a partner doesn’t mean I’m greater than you, it means I’m older and I know a little bit more to guide you through life and help you make good decisions. Jada, on the other hand, thinks approaching her kids as peers increases the likelihood that they will listen.
By “instilling in [Willow] the power for individuality, we … communicate with our kids in a way that our message overpowers any other message that they get out there.”
In the same token, they don’t limit the information their kids come across, even when it includes rumors and gossip about their family.
“We can’t control what our kids learn anymore. We have to inform them and have real conversations … and [create] that foundation of them feeling assured in themselves.”
“I think for our children … they feel like we really care and they come to us and go, ‘Mommy, I’m having this problem,’ and it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s figure this out together.’ And it empowers them.”
This past Mother’s Day weekend, the Smith family (well, let’s just say Jada, her mom Adrienne and Willow) were seen moving in funky and interesting fashions around Paris. If you didn’t know by now, Willow is a fan of the glam punk meets teenage angst look, but this ensemble definitely had people talking. Last time I saw shoes this tall, Mel B was still a Spice Girl calling herself “Scary Spice,” and they were starring in Spice World. She wore a white checkered bowl hat (covering pink hair) with printed tights, a black top, denim shorts, and a white jacket. Though she was in Paris, she represented for the States with her feet in those spiked platform sneakers. Check her funky fresh dressed attire out below:
And in other Smith kid news, Willow’s older brother Jaden decided to drop a video for a track he has called “Give It To ‘Em.” I knew he was trying to do a little rapping here and there, even popping up on some tracks with Justin Bieber, but somebody’s obviously taking this hobby pretty seriously now. But then again, a child of Will Smith can’t do JUST one thing, right? Check him out in the black and white visuals with his basic white graphic T-shirt and Ray-Ban swag and tell us if Diggy has some competition (smiles).
Well, what do you think?
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“They say” everyone has a twin and some of us don’t have to look very far to find that person. I’ve looked exactly like one of my parents at different points in my life (like my dad until I was about 15 and my mom ever since). The folks we chose on the next few pages seem to have their “twin” relatively close to them as well. I wonder if they hear the “You look just like your mother/father” every time they’re out and about.
Do you look exactly like one or both of your parents?