willow smith: childhood fame has “a crippling effect on the psyche”

November 27, 2017
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For many, a life of fame is a dream they aspire toward every day, counting every ‘like’ on Instagram photos and Facebook posts, and doing whatever they can to increase their following on Twitter. To be known is to be adored, and in a capitalistic society where your influence directly correlates with your opportunities, it has very real material and financial benefits.

But the material and financial aren’t the only measures of our life, at least according to young singer Willow Smith. Following the release of her critically lauded album The 1st last month, which she described as the “emotional regurgitation from the depths of a burgeoning woman,” the always wise seventeen-year-old sat down with Girlgaze to explain what it is like to be a child star in today’s society.

“I’m going to be completely and utterly honest, it’s absolutely terrible,” Willow explained. The child of superstars Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow has been in the spotlight for her whole life, and especially during the last seven years since she released her breakout song at age 10, “Whip My Hair”.

“I feel like most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression,” she continued, “and the world is sitting there looking at them through their phones; laughing and making jokes and making memes at the crippling effect that this lifestyle has on the psyche.”

She has a point. It’s worth pondering the ways we might be complicit in this system, and how we might change it.