VIDEO: Willow Smith’s “I Am Me”

Last night at the BET Awards, Willow Smith (the incredibly talented eleven year-old daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) debuted her new song and video, “I Am Me.” Smith has described the song as a personal anthem of sorts.

It’s just explaining who I am and what symbolizes me-like me as an energy, me as a person, just cool and rounded.

Many have also suggested that the song is a message to other kids her age. Lyrics like these confirm this.

Listen to this song, because this is real facts
That will help you move along, yeah
That’s all I wanted to say, so I love you guys so much
Hope you like the song and you know, yolo, misfits, argh haha.

But then there are lyrics like these that make it worth listening to for older kids as well as adults.

People don’t like the way I dress
So it won’t matter, I’ve been looking
I’ve done my hair and it’s not just that easy
I’ve been looking
Your validation it’s just not that important to me

You have to be yourself, be real, be honest

Cause ain’t nobody got time for that

Obviously, I’m a Willow Smith fan – have been since her anthem to hair pride. But this song and video is even more touching to me. As I explained on our Facebook page, I’m especially drawn to her oversized shirt. In one way, it suggests an adult-sized talent and maturity that’s bigger than her 11 year old body; in another way, it acts as a barrier that defies the hyperfeminization and sexualization of girls in public culture from the Toddlers & Tiaras ilk to, I don’t know, every reality show star?

Androgyny here (from her shirt to her hair, to so many of her facial expressions – isn’t she the mirror image of her dad?? -, the skateboard, etc) seems enlisted towards a feminist project in a way that is so powerful and so compelling to me. YOLO, indeed.

7 Comments

Filed under (AD)DRESSING GENDER & SEXUALITY, LINKAGE, THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

7 responses to “VIDEO: Willow Smith’s “I Am Me”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Last night when I watched this, I heard those same lyrics about “validation” and high fived the air for young girls and women alike. I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of art Willow creates!

  2. When I saw this last night, I was truly amazed. I only wish that I had the self-confidence that she has when I was her age—or heck, now.

  3. Yes, incredibly talented she is. But she has the best acting coaches, the best voice coaches, the best dancing teachers in the business at her disposal along with a top-knotch production team. Heard Will Smith on Letterman a couple of months ago and he said in the middle of her singing tour that she didn’t want to continue but really wanted to take up ballet. He said that she was starting lessons. A mercurial talent most definitely. “Whip my hair…” and then this darling buzz cut with this great message just seems all too packaged to me.

  4. thank you for sharing this. this young lady is truly a beauty, her self-confidence and personal expression is so empowering. hopefully this theme will become a new, and much needed, trend.

  5. My point is the “she.” Who is she: her stage parents, their PR machine, their production team, the package, the brand? I have lived in LA too long. ; )

  6. Sara Wegstein

    Considering her parents huge donations to Scientology and that the Church has been known to instill a hugely overinflated ego into children (because according to Scientology, childhood is a social construction and children should be treated as small adults), the whole family makes me very uncomfortable. There’s an arrogance in the lyrics that’s very different from an ordinary “misfit fitting for his right to be” hymn. Something about her feels very wrong.

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