Smith! The name couldn’t be more ordinary, but the family itself – namely, the family of movie star Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith – is a thing of sheer wonder. Or so we are expected to believe.
Last year we went into some of the details. As Will and Jada explained to Oprah Winfrey in 2010, they aren’t just any married couple: they’re “two big beings that came together” with a share “vision” of creating a family suffused with “excellence” and determined to “advance and elevate” humanity.
“I don’t want to be an icon,” Will has said. “I want to be an idea….I want to represent possibilities. I want to represent magic, right? That you’re in a universe and two plus two equals four. Two plus two equals four only if you accept that two plus two equals four. Two plus two is going to be whatever I want it to be.” If it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s probably because you don’t inhabit quite as enlightened a plane as Will does.
Will and Jada have two children. Their son, Jaden (19), is named after his mother; their daughter, Willow (17), after her father. Both kids clearly learned at an early age to parrot their parents’ pretentious, self-important blather. Jaden has tweeted: “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society.” And his sister has tweeted that “ANYTHING that I EVER do is geared towards the evolution and vibrational elevation of this planet through the inspiration of individuals.”
Both of these kids weren’t just turned into amateur philosophers at an early age. They were encouraged to hate their own country and to idolize, of all places, the United Arab Emirates, a country that they’ve visited several times and with which Will has unusually, and mysteriously, close ties. While condemning Islamophobia in the U.S., and, in fact, denouncing the U.S. on all kinds of grounds, Will has consistently remained silent about the UAE’s brutal implementation of sharia law, including its punishment of adultery, apostasy, and homosexuality with the death penalty.
Will and Jada’s two kids have also been tossed into showbiz. Jaden’s first movie performance was in his dad’s picture The Pursuit of Happyness (sic), released in 2006, the year Jaden turned eight. Four years later, he and Justin Bieber dropped the song “Never Say Never,” which went quintuple platinum. Willow, for her part, made her film debut at seven in her dad’s vehicle I Am Legend; a few days before her tenth birthday, she released her solo platinum hit tune “Whip My Hair.”
Given Will and Jada’s belief that they and their kids are on some kind of divine mission to spread their own special beauty or brilliance or benison to the rest of humankind, it was interesting to learn earlier this year that Willow, back in 2012, in the middle of her “Whip My Hair” tour, shaved her head bald as a protest against the career that her folks had thrust upon her. Then 11 years old, she’d already told Will “that she wanted out” of the tour – in response to which he’d ordered her to shut up and stick it out. She had to cut of all her hair to get the message through to him. You might think it would have taught him some humility. Nope.
Willow’s rebellion has continued. On November 24, the New York Post quoted her as saying that it had been “absolutely terrible” growing up in the spotlight. “You can’t change your face. You can’t change your parents. You can’t change any of those things,” she said, adding that “most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression.”
Will and Jada certainly knew from the beginning that child stars have a lousy record of growing into well-adjusted adults, but, for their own selfish reasons, they forced their kids into the limelight anyway. Let’s hope those kids don’t end up in “a spiral of depression.” And let’s hope that the folly of their family’s massive pretensions teach a lesson to other fatuous Hollywood luminaries who mistake their luck for brilliance, who think their shallow Tinseltown triumphs are accomplishments equivalent to curing cancer, and who smear freedom while exalting tinpot tyrannies.