Leave Willow Smith alone! 11-year-old pop star doesn’t deserve spotlight’s harsh glare

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Willow Smith arrives at the 2012 BET Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on July 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images For BET)

Willow Smith arrives at the 2012 BET Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on July 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images For BET)

No matter how grown you may think Willow Smith looks or acts, she is 11 years old and she should not be subjected to over-analyzing, mean-spirited critiques from grown-ups.  I shall not give such tom-foolery shine by linking to said outlandish attacks, but you know what I’m talking about.

A good chunk of the un-warranted ire directed at the adolescent has been about her hair. She has shaved one side (a la Cassie/Rihanna), she has gotten a buzz cut similar to her brother Jaden’s and she has dyed it a rainbow of colors.  Then she posted a pic earlier this summer of herself with what appeared to be a tongue ring, but she later acknowledged that it was not a “real” tongue ring.

theGrio opinion: Is Will Smith merchandising his kids?

Listen.  She’s 11 and she’s been famous since birth. If you recall, Willow was a baby when her parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, attended the Oscar ceremony for Will’s Oscar-nominated performance in Ali.  Even though Will and Jada have been famous for their entire adult lives, they are playing this fame thing by ear with their kids. They don’t have first-hand experience as an angst-ridden tween with a hit song out (I still “Whip My Hair” like, what)  and famous parents and blogs watching and analyzing every tweet, outfit and hairstyle. This right here is Willow’s unique experience as a young lady growing up in the spotlight.

Will has responded to the criticism by saying that “If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that it is hers.”

Slow clap for Big Will. Precisely. It’s just hair, people. It grows back. If worse comes to worst, her family has enough money to get her top notch wigs and weaves should she ever decide to grow out her hair underneath them. As far as clothes…please. Surely you have a shoebox full of embarrassing pictures of yourself in body swallowing Cross Colour shorts, patched up Used Jeans or whatever currently out-of-style clothes marked your adolescence.

Willow herself issued a clear response to the naysayers with her new video “I Am Me.” In it, she sings, “Your validation is just not that important to me.” That goes out to all you 30-year-old bloggers writing dumb stuff about a kid. Get a life.

WATCH “I AM ME” BELOW

If nothing else, Willow seems to be an intelligent, confident, emotional, beautiful young lady. Did you watch her Red Table Talk with her mom and grandmother? She was equal parts courageous, vulnerable and instinctive in her questions and answers. What would your 11-year-old self have been like in the face of such intense world-wide scrutiny? Talk about grace under fire. Willow is growing up in the public eye and she is bound to have some less than stellar moments as she moves into her teenage years and beyond, but that’s fine. That’s life. Let Willow be Willow and let her parents do their job.

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope.