Who’s The Next “It” Kid?

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So this Willow Smith may be one of the cuter kids to roam the earth in quite some time. Poise, looks, moxie– this tiny dynamo has it all. Not to mention a pedigree which, while it certainly doesn’t account for her raw talent, may have put her in the right place to display it. Like on TV. And radio. Like everywhere on the internet right now with the catchy Whip My Hair. I saw it. I was intrigued. I watched …and I watched her debut it live on Ellen. Where she demonstrated a nearly alarming  amount of maturity and ease.This might be par for the course when you’re the child of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, known in Hollywood as the kind of parents who have chosen to play an active role in their (extremely talented) kids’ development. Willow is on her way with a definitive message that bears hearing. The song itself is all about empowerment, with  Go Girl lyrics that are already topping the charts:

“Don’t let haters keep me off my grind, keep my head up I know I’ll be fine, keep fighting until I get there, when I’m down and I feel like giving up I think again, I whip my hair back and forth.”

It’s fantastic. Even if I did have to look up “off my grind”.  Willow’s already a role model and if all goes as planned (by a legion of skilled handlers) she’ll continue to be a role model of the best sort, encouraging  young ladies to tap into their inner potential via a simple gesture. An abrupt aerobic follicle cyclone to remind everyone that confidence is present. Or at least imminent. The only thing I wondered about was the interview afterwards with Ellen (who really handles guests more kindly and deftly than anyone in the talk-show business). I was a little surprised by Willow’s response when Ellen asked what the phrase “Whip My Hair” actually means. The nine-year-old-with-a-record-deal-from-Jay-Z  answered thus: “Basically… it’s the new I’m me. Because I’m me and I’m doing what I wanna do.” Um. Well of course she is. Although I have to wonder (since I am no longer  nine) whether moms everywhere heard this and groaned just a teensy bit. How many mothers do you know who don’t encounter the combination of words “I” and  “want” uttered by spawn on an hourly basis? I guess the whole “I’m doing what I wanna do” part gave me pause because in some families there can be a fine line between empowerment and defiance, and sometimes ” what I wanna do” can get you sent to your room, but quick. If the song had come out when I was a kid, I suspect any number of parents would have viewed the phrase “Whip My Hair” as a very close cousin to the phrase “Stomp My Foot” which usually gets you some Quiet Time. Or that’s what stuff like that got you in the 1970’s. I too am walking a fine line here, because I want to applaud this kid for her performance; it’s tough to watch her and not be entirely captivated. On the other hand I don’t ever want to be one of those people who says silly things like “kids today” but the truth is, there is a brave new set of rules for how they behave, and along with that behavior come the role models who will inevitably set the pace. It seems this young lady’s got the chops to inspire an entire generation. Then again, maybe nothing’s really changed at all, and this astonishing child is just the latest (whipped) hair apparent in a long line of girls with locks we love. I wonder what Dorothy Hamill thinks.

Today’s poll: Voice your choice and tell us which of these kid stars is your favorite:

1)    Justin Bieber

2)    Willow Smith

3)    Jaden Smith

4)    Selena Gomez

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