Over the years, I have developed a healthy respect for Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith as business people and as parents.
The pair – legends in their own right – have crafted a dynasty through the years. Said dynasty has largely been fueled by the immense success of the blockbuster master Will Smith. However, Jada has divinely been instrumental in raising their two kids during this period time of extreme success for the family unit, including their lovely kids Willow and Jaden. Through the years, the family has been a controversy magnet, attracting those that feel the superstar couple are raising kids too far from convention, void of rules and laws that are embraced by those purporting to be normal.
Recently, I raised one of my thick eyebrows when I fixated my eyes on a 13-year-old Willow in the bed with Moises Arias, a 20-year-old socialite. The imagery was captured on the photoblog of Arias and quickly became a topic of discussion.
I’ve always appreciated the Smith Family because, in some ways, it reminded me how I wanted to formulate my own before divorce marred those hopes. For one, they were clearly creating a dynasty of sorts as both Willow and Jaden have demonstrated that they are stars in their own right. Secondly, the the Smith parents seem to be raising free-thinking kids that are void of the man-made laws and constraints that doom other children from greatness. I appreciate that.
I tried very hard to understand the image posted by Arias. One image was captioned “Simba & Nala,” a nod to the cute, decidedly G-rated love between a pair of Disney characters in The Lion King, and the other simply said “Roar” with Arias laughing. In each image, Willow is lying on a bed.
I have no knee-jerk reaction to this one, unlike most so-called questionable parents like Love & Hip Hop Atlanta‘s Mimi Faust and her recent sex tape debacle. I give the Smith Family the benefit of the doubt that they have a very good idea what they are doing and how they want to rear themselves. Clearly, a special bunch, they are living a life that most people cannot fully fathom, one that is far outside of the boundaries of race, employment, rules and perceived normalcy. This is dope.
However, I cannot and will not feel that it is acceptable for my child to be lying up in the bed with a 20-year-old until she is an adult. The caption, the comfortability, and the seemingly wholly beatnik culture also exemplified on all of their blogs is simply not a lifestyle the majority of us can afford to rear our kids within. And then there is the sexul undertones of a 13-year-old in bed with a 20-year-old. Jada leapt to the duo’s defense in an interview with TMZ.
The actress, who I have an eternal crush on, stated that the public was jumping to conclusions and their accusations said more about them than her kid. “Here’s the deal. There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation. You guys are projecting your trash onto it, and you’re acting like covert pedophiles. That’s not cool.”
And she’s right.
We don’t know much about their the relationship between Arias and Willow. As far as I know, they are just good friends that happen to post a lot of fun-lovin’ pictures on the internet for all to see…and judge.
I’m not going to judge.
But, I will state this. Arias and I would have a conversation. My daughter and I would have a conversation. The parent I am would not have my child in a circumstance where she could wind up in a bed with a grown man to begin with. She’d be too busy being a kid at the moment, and while–projecting the future–I have taught her to be more worldly than other kids, she’s not cognizant of sexual mores yet.
I have no quarrel with the Smith family. I think they are raising kids that aim to live a loving existence and will grow to be successful on their own terms. And there are aspects of their rearing that mimic my own, I believe.
In fact, here are a few quotes from mom Jada that confirm their thinking as well as their approach to parenting.
“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’ve always been a caretaker; I think a lot of women are. We take care of everybody else first, and very rarely do we think about ourselves.”
“I think women who lead full lives are better mothers.”
“It’s not about what you tell your children, but how you show them how to live life.”
“I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain.”
Keeping it real, the old me would blow a gasket if my child was in that scenario where Willow was photographed with Arias…I can’t lie. The “conversation” would probably result in headlines all up in TMZ and all the other blogs. As “wild-n-crazy” as my daughter is, she’s not about that life. She’s just in grade school, making honor role, and exuding qualities I gather will equate to endless possibilities.
I’m just going to limit those options until she’s ready to make those decisions for herself.
With the shrinking child population, Willow Smith just may be fully ready to make that transition into adulthood. Will and Jada have a different approach that simply may be that other level of parenting.