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.