Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Mrs. Pinkett-Smith

Dear Mrs. Pinkett-Smith,

First of all, you looked beautiful on Oprah. You and Will are such a handsome couple and seem to have such an amazing relationship both with each other and your children. It's so rare these days that you see any marriage last so long, let alone in Hollywood. It is definitely something to proud be of. Your children seem to be very intelligent and extraordinarily talented.

This brings me to the point of this letter. I was perusing the internet today when I saw something that caught my eye. "Watch Willow Smith's Video Debut". Imagine my excitement when I clicked on the link. After all, I've been such a huge fan of your's and Will's work over the years and I even remember when "Parents Just Don't Understand" came out. Being only 8 years old at the time, I wasn't "technically" allowed to watch it, but I did steal sneaks when my brothers had MTV on. That's the thing about kids. They always find a way.

So back to Willow. I clicked and eagerly awaited to see this cute young thing perform. And what I saw left me incredibly...disturbed. For like the whole day. I don't have children so I was really trying to figure out why this bothered me so much and I was able to break it down into a few reasons. I have some questions that I would just like to ask you about, seeing as I think you appear to be a good mother and maybe this is just one huge misunderstanding. Or I'm incredibly old fashioned. Or the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

She's 9 right? Does she know the difference between a noun and a verb? I only ask because I feel that you may want to go over these things with her after school while you bake her cookies as I'm sure you do. Because if she wrote this song herself (which I believe that's the claim), I'm a bit concerned with her grammar and proper sentence structure. Phrases like "pay no attention to them haters" "we ain't doing nothing wrong" and "don't tell me nothing", concern me. I'm also very confused as to what lengths a fourth grader might go to in order to "keep the party jumpin'"as well as what kind of party that might be. And while I'm sure you're very proud of the "swag" she mentions, the issue that causes me the most disquiet, is her reference to "getting her grind on". I have looked everywhere for a definition of what grind could be besides a) to reduce to powder through friction or b) vulgarly rub one's crotch on another's leg. Now, I did come across something that said in slang, to "get one's grind on" could mean that one is a focused individual not wanting anything to get in his or her way. However, once again, she's 9 right? Do you really think she needs to "get her grind on" beyond a ballet class or an occasional game of kickball?

Haters. Who are the haters? I understand with bullying being such a prevalent issue these days it's important to believe in and stand up for yourself but I'm not sure that calling bullies "them haters" really helps your cause. If it is even bullies she is referring to. In my opinion, and again this is just my opinion, the mere use of the word haters, perpetuates the hate. And she's such a pretty little girl. Could she not smile once in the whole video? It was uncomfortable to see her look so angry and a bit unsettling that I almost thought she would be capable of beating me up. Call me crazy, but it almost made me long for the days when we thought Miley was setting a bad example (though I happen to know Mrs. Cyrus asked her to tone it down after she read my letter).

She's too young to be wearing that much make-up. Period. I don't even think it needs an explanation. I just wish you could be in every bathroom across the nation on a school morning as a mother fights with her child about why she cannot wear make-up and "bling" to school like Willow Smith (don't even get me started on the hair extensions).

I understand your kids have aspirations and boatloads of talent but is it not good enough to just see them in a school talent show? I realize you want to give them every opportunity in the world but their minds are still forming and they're still learning who they are. So when you say things on Oprah like "We tell our kids, you're not rich. Mommy and Daddy are rich" and then you go on to produce their blockbuster movies and record albums, it's a bit disappointing.

I once wanted to cut my own hair in 3rd grade and my mom said no. Shaving a star into the side of my head was just never an option. I didn't have the money to just "be myself" by dressing in Dior or whatever else was bought for me. My choices weren't nearly as fashionable seeing as I was limited to hand-me-downs. Bottom line, when are we going to start raising the bar and teaching kids to express themselves through their thoughts and their words and their ideas and their intelligence? When I started being able to do that, that's when my mom start letting me make more decisions about how I did my hair, how I dressed, etc. With each sign of maturity, I graduated to another stage of responsibility in the decisions made about my life. Because I was trying to discover who I was. A nine-year old might have strong opinions, but they have no idea who they are or, more importantly, who they will become. I say that not as a judgement or a fact; I say this based on experience. I used to be 9.

I wish you and the rest of the Pinkett-Smith family much success and luck and thank you for taking the time to read this. I know you must be very busy. Maybe Willow's next video can steer away from they dark side a bit and find a way to be current and hip with a brighter edge. Something more, dare I say it, age appropriate? I don't need puppy dogs and rainbows...but maybe a smile would be nice:)



Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" video


  1. You have some terrific insights Katie. I am very glad to have stumbled upon your blog and am very much looking forward to your next post!

  2. Your comments Kick Ass Katie. I couldn't agree more. I didn"t even know who Shallow...I mean willow was. When I found out she was only (, I felt dirty! And still do. Please keep em coming.

  3. Well said Katie....too much too soon.

  4. Kcombs - I'm so lucky that I stumbled upon this blog too. What a coincidence!