It’s hard to believe that Willow Smith has anything close to a normal childhood, but a touching picture posted online by her mother has shown otherwise. Jada Pinkett Smith posted a picture on Twitter of Willow sleeping in dad Will Smith’s lap during a plane ride, with the caption “Being a fatherless daughter these are the moments I cherish. Love. J”
Will Smith is known for doting on his children and has mentioned them frequently in interviews. Back in May, Smith shared how he felt about his daughter’s freedom of expression. “If I teach [Willow] 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 who does the same thing,” he said in an interview. “That’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body.”
He also shared apprehension about his daughter dating. “Having two boys and a girl, I realize that boys take trouble to other people’s houses, and girls bring it home,” he said to People magazine. “So, the thing we are struggling with is the rules and setting fair rules for the boys and for Willow, but she’s not having any of that.”
The “Whip My Hair” Willow—and by extension her parents—has received a fair amount of condemnation in the black community for some of the choices she’s made concerning her hair, her clothing and the situations she’s found herself in. For instance, when she posted a picture of herself on Twitter looking like she was swinging on a stripper pole in Vegas, the critics came after her and her parents hard. The picture was quickly removed, but it led many to wonder what kind of supervision the free-spirited 11-year-old was getting at home if she could find herself in a situation where she could swing from a stripper pole, have someone take a picture of it, and then post it on Twitter—either without an adult being aware, or worse, with an adult’s approval.