If you haven’t seen Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” video yet, be prepared…it’s intense. Not only are you bombarded with bombastic beats, shaky cameras, colorful paint flying off of braids, and the repetitive high-pitched line of “I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH”, add to that a ridiculous amount of fashion and hair changes and 9-year-old Willow Smith (daughter of Will and Jada) is positioned to seem like a bite-sized Lady GaGa.
Signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, Smith’s debut music video packs quite the punch. If you can survive past the flashing lights and cuts between hair whipping and dance sequences, one realizes that the song is actually addictively catchy and although the lyrics are naively unimpressive, Willow’s voice actually is. She reminds me of a young Raven-Symoné.
Yet I can’t help watching this larger than life, eye-candy video and feeling a sense of terror for this young girl. It seems whenever young kids (especially those already in the spotlight) are set to entertain the pop masses in song, they run the risk of being folded into the hit machine, their true identities and childhoods left behind. Children of privilege like Willow Smith, seem groomed to let their talent shine with the best teams of hit producers money can buy, but what about their actual development as musicians, rather than pop stars? I mean, ANYone can be a pop start, hell, Paris Hilton even had a hit song/video. We’ll just have to wait and see. Between The Karate Kid and Willow’s debut, it seems we’ve entered the decade of the Smiths.