Willow Shaving Off Her Hair In Emotional Distress Motivated Will Smith To Let His Kids Be Free Spirits
Jay Z’s “Footnotes” series on Tidal has quite a few gems in it. It’s where we heard Jesse Williams’s first thoughts on the end of his marriage, and it’s also where we learned about the reason behind Will Smith’s choice to loosen the reigns on his children.
In the “Footnotes of Adnis,” a number of famous men speak about their fathers and how their choices and lessons impacted each man when they became a parent. Smith spoke about his own father, who just passed late last year. The actor said Willard Smith, Sr. was always pretty stern.
“He would say stuff like, ‘When I tell you to do something, and I give you that mission, there’s only two options: You complete the mission or you’re dead.'”
But when the actor tried to be stern like that with his own children, specifically daughter Willow, he realized how much of a negative impact that could have on her emotionally. As an example, he spoke about the time when Willow was on tour promoting her single “Whip My Hair” and had enough of the demands of such work. He tried to encourage to keep up with her commitments, and she became so overwhelmed at the idea that she shaved all of her hair off to make a statement. While some might say the reaction was that of a spoiled kid, he felt it was a sign that he should take to heart how his children truly feel.
“We’re on the whip my hair tour and she comes off the stage, had a great show, and we were in like Dublin,” he said. “She was like, ‘Oh daddy, it was great. I’m finished!’ I said ‘Yeah, you’re finished for the night. She’s like ‘No, daddy I’m ready to go home.’ That was like the fifth show. I was like, “You know you’ve got another 30 days on the tour. You can’t be finished now.’ So she went to sleep, and we come down, and she had shaved her head bald. She shaved her head bald in the middle of her ‘Whip My Hair’ tour, right? I was like, ‘Oh, sh-t.'”
“I’m looking at that girl and I’m like, ‘Got it. Got it. I understand,'” he continued. “‘You will not have this trouble out of me ever again. Let’s go, baby. We can go.’ For me, it was that soldier that was pushing and wasn’t paying any attention whatsoever to what was going on emotionally with this beautiful little creature in front of me. And that was the first part of the collapsing of my father’s suit that I was wearing that wasn’t mine.”
For those who might question such a move, or any of his parenting choices when it comes to letting Willow and Jaden do their own thing as artists and people, Will says their free-spirited way of doing things is something he and Jada are proud of.
“There’s a really powerful internal quality as an artist that as parents we encourage,” he told BBC Radio in the past. “You gotta get out on the edge, you have to try things, you have to be comfortable doing things that people don’t agree with, and you have to be comfortable doing things that you could fail.”