the Smiths

Hey, internet. Time for an r/passiverant.

It bothers me that so many people act like Jaden and Willow Smith are crazy. I mean, I get it. They are definitely a little… out there.

Jaden, baby, you’re not making this easy. 
And Willow Smith’s recent album Ardipithecus (???) features lyrics like “ I’m gonna climb in this tree, cause it’s a fractal of me” on a song titled “dRuGz.”

But despite their eccentricities, they are probably geniuses. Jaden’s twitter has a genius.com page filled with annotations and interpretations of his sorta mystic tweets. He’s working as a gender fluid model for Vogue. Willow released an album this year on which she was the sole songwriter for fourteen out of fifteen of the songs and was the sole producer on ten of the songs (sauce).

Sorry, one second.

Let me emphasize that.

Willow Smith, at age fifteen, almost entirely independently created a fifteen song music production. And did the album cover. And named it some weird shit, but explained it in a way that’s obviously meaningful:

“Ardipithecus Ramidus is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because, while I was making these songs I was in such a transitional state. Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories, which end up being the lyrics to the songs. Ardipithecus is my first album in my entire career and it makes me feel so blessed to be able to share my evolution with the LightEaters as I continue excavating my inner worlds…” — Willow (Fader).

I don’t know about you, but if I had a fifteen year old who was thinking at such a high level, even though the content is unusually spiritual and rather psychedelic, I’d be pretty stoked. And confused and concerned about how I’d given birth at age five and managed to not really notice having a child until now, but that’s unimportant.

Also, to be fair, I think Ardipithecus was definitely pretty inaccessible, but you know, so was Cherry Bomb and I still listened to that. (Pitchfork gives Willow a really accurate album review.)

Anyways, I just started thinking about these kids because Will Smith was quoted as saying something I just found utterly profound. I’m a huge fan of Will Smith. He’s obviously a renowned actor, but I feel some personal connection to him because he got in to MIT, but chose instead to pursue his art. While I chose to attend MIT, I still have made a decision to pursue my art, in some form or another. Anyways, he weighed in on the “#OscarsSoWhite” affair. I personally feel that media representation of minorities is extremely important to allow people to have idols or characters that they can relate to and also for minority visibility. The unevenness in racial representation is really stark and obvious if one thinks about it, and there are many articles on the discrepancy between percentage of minorities in the United States and the percentage of actors who are minorities appearing in American media. Minorities are reported to be severely unrepresented. Knowing this, it is obvious to me that the #OscarsSoWhite cry is valid and founded. I like to think that if by some stroke of some deity’s power I was invited to the Oscars that I would boycott them even though I am but a lowly pedestrian who will likely never get another Oscar invite. I’d been thinking about this conflict and had firmly decided what “side” I stood on. When Will Smith was quoted saying

“There is no us and them. It’s we. I’m a member of the Academy. For me, it’s more about putting my hand up and reminding my community, the Hollywood community, that we have to lead. That diversity is America’s superpower. That’s what makes our country great.” — Will Smith

I had to completely re-imagine the problem. Will Smith, in a handful of sentences, reframed the entire argument of #OscarsSoWhite. He brilliantly, subtly, spoke to unite people. In the same breath, he called his community to action. To lead. He illustrated that he not only believes that his community is, in fact, a community, but also that he believes that they have the power, and responsibility, to lead the wider community.

What a brilliant, brilliant man, and a brilliant, brilliant move.

With Will Smith’s brain genes and his upbringing, I would be shocked if Willow and Jaden weren’t incredibly precocious.

Their musings and meanings may be distant and hard to interpreted, but they are undoubtedly nuanced and thoughtful. Can ideas that are thoughtfully and intentionally developed be crazy? I suppose so, actually.

I suppose maybe they are crazy. Maybe I am too. But all I’m saying is they are as smart as all hell too. I look forward to watching them grow into their smarts, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.