Anyone who knows me knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with the Smith brand, particularly Will Smith. But I also love his gorgeous wife Jada, his son Trey (from his first wife), his son Jaden aka "The Karate Kid", and his youngest, Willow Smith.
As a youngster, I was enamored with the Fresh Prince. He seemed like a pretty clean-cut guy who was still cool! I loved it; that's who I wanted to be. Judge me, that's fine. The weird thing about my crush, was, that it wasn't dampened by his courtship and eventual marriage to Jada Pinkett. I rooted for them; I wanted him to be happy. And then, as they had eponymous children, Willow and Jaden, I rooted for Black Hollywood's outrageously successful family.
Unlike most people, I'm a fan of both Will the actor and Will the hip-hop artist. So while most of you all were formally introduced to Willow over the past couple months with her smash hit, "Whip My Hair", I became familiar with her on Will Smith's 2002 LP, "Born to Reign." Track #6, "Willow is A Player" is a reggae-influenced track, where Will sings about his love for his then 2-year-old daughter. It's corny -- the lyrics include, "every eye tied to her as she steps out the crib" and "what make it so crazy... I met her through my wife." It's corny.... but it's cute.
I remember the day I first heard Willow's Whip My Hair track.
Interestingly enough, my sister was in the hospital due to give birth to my niece named, you guessed it... Willow. (Her father's name is Willie.) The 9 year-old belts out, with assistance from Autotune, "When I'm down and I feel like giving up... I whip my hair back and forth... short, do it, do it whip your hair!"
Ok, so she's not spitting classic literature here. But there are a few reasons why I have a special love for this track:
1. Whip My Hair is proof that you can make a club banger without it dripping in misogyny. I'm guilty of doing a two-step myself to club hits like Wayne's "I just wanna *&^% every girl in the world." The beats are hypnotic, the music is ubiquitous, and the alternative is to stand awkwardly in the corner or stay at home. But now I don't have to, at least not while my girl Willow's on. I can whip my hair back and forth, guilt-free!
2. WMH is age-appropriate. Some people don't think it's ok for a 9 year old to start her music career so young. Shrug. Whatever. She's talking about swinging hair, not slinging cocaine. Meanwhile, Souljah Boy told us to "superman that hoe" at the tender age of 16 years and 10 months. Yeah, I looked it up, don't question me. You wanna know what that means? I would tell you, but I'm a lady. But you can click the link. We can play WMH in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country with no concern.
3. Willow is whipping natural hair. In the video, she dons several hair styles, many of them "natural", including braids. She even shouts out "don't matter if it's long... short!" She includes everyone in the hair whipping phenomenon! I love the inclusiveness of the hair-whipping gesture, which was previously a habit associated with a class of snobby women, and now is available to all. Kudos to you Willow... Wonder if she's using the products her mom endorses, Carol's Daughter... hmmm...
Interested in learning the proper way to whip your hair? Check out the vid. You gotta love the kid.