Willow Smith: Whipping Hair and Taking Names

The Smith children are undoubtedly an enigma. Both are still teenagers blazing trails in their respective careers but not only that, these young adults are wise beyond their years. Willow Smith dabbled in acting with her debut being I Am Legend alongside her father, Will Smith. She also starred in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl and voiced adolescent Gloria in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.wil with a blossoming personality. She became the youngest artist signed to Roc Nation. After “Whip My Hair”, she continued to release more singles such as “Fireball” ft. Nicki Minaj in 2011 and “Why Don’t You Cry” in 2015.

photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien

Her first album, “ARDIPITHECUS” debuted in 2015 which wasn’t well received. Critics found it to be confusing or too mysterious which may be true…for them. Since “Whip My Hair”, she continued to develop her sound which eventually evolved into a fusion of alternative and R&B. This seemed a bit removed from what we heard prior to this debut but she wasn’t going to be a little girl forever. Nonetheless, Willow grew into her own persistently. She began studying quantum physics and became a womanist, advocating for the rights of women all over the world. She went vegan and started exploring the world, awakening new spiritual experiences. This growth added new layers to the person she is becoming and filter their way into her music as well. Don’t fret though, she’s still whipping her hair back and forth on stages across the world.

photo by Tyler Cole

The 1st

Her new album released on her birthday this year, Oct. 31st.

“This album is a journey through all types of LOVE.” – Willow Smith via Instagram

If we’re being succinct, the statement above is accurate yet very loaded. The concept of love itself challenged the minds of the greatest philosophers as well as “average” folks like you and me. Regardless, we do know that love is truly an odyssey. It forces us to address the less appealing parts of ourselves and of others. It pushes us to be deliberate and selfless, to be transparent and vulnerable. What many of us may fail to understand is that love is still a choice and not only an emotion. Willow gives us access to her feats and struggles with love. She croons on “Warm Honey” about the affections of a boy she’s involved with but also how she feels insecure in being what she needs to be, for herself and for him.

“Your heart melts into my cup / It tastes like warm honey

My self seems never enough/ Tell me, honey, it’s funny”

It is funny and not in the hearty belly laugh way either. Still, she trudges on through the sticky honey of his love and her own searching for herself. Clichés become what they are because of the truth they hold. You have to love yourself before you can love another and “Warm Honey” is an account of a young woman’s quest for self through love.

The 1st is a variety of emotions and sounds that mesh harmoniously. Willow produced this entire album playing the acoustic guitar integrated with dreamy background vocals, swelling strings and earthy percussion. Her sophomore album scores her perennial journey of loving self, loving life and loving others.

“Investigating the confusion of the mind when faced with complex emotions and arriving at the clarity of gratitude” – Willow Smith via Instagram

“The 1st” is available to stream and download on Apple Music.