If you’re anything like me, you spent most of high school just trying to fit in.
I started working at 15 because my mom refused to understand why you couldn’t rock just any tan work boot. Sophomore year was a living hell for my best friend after classmates noticed a small bullhead where a little Timberland tree should've been on her off-brand boots. Your Polo man couldn’t have more than one player riding the horse, and you just better have had your shirt untucked if the back pocket of your jeans was missing the Guess triangle. I spent most of my high school career broke, but accepted with no one talking trash about me.
In 2015, if no one is talking about you, you’re not doing something right. In his recent GQ interview , Jaden Smith has just confirmed how uncool I really am. Because if you didn’t know, awkward is the new black and being a normal self-absorbed adolescent is so 2008.
“It's fun, bro. That's what a lot of people don't realize,” Smith said in the interview. “People think you're crazy—I feel like it's an honor, actually, for people to think I'm crazy. Because they thought Galileo was crazy, too, you know what I'm saying? I don't think I'm as revolutionary as Galileo, but I don't think I'm not as revolutionary as Galileo.”
Yep, Jaden just compared himself to the Italian astronomer also known as “the father of modern physics.” Smith revealed to GQ that the Batman wedding attire, the dresses and stair metaphors are all apart of him and sister Willow’s carefully constructed plan of crazy to see how the public would react.
“Me and Willow are scientists,” he explains, “so everything for us is a scientific test upon humanity. And luckily we're put in a position where we can affect large groups of human beings at one time.”
I don’t know whether I’m more concerned for what these kids like to do for fun or if I’m bothered by the fact that they may have a point.
At 15 all I had to do was keep up with the latest Aaliyah video or hottest Air Jordans. Today’s teens live in an Instagram/Twitter kind of world where “cool” changes by the second and a Kardashian can take a man from “fly” to “f**kboy” in a matter of days. With the amount of pressure to be different and stand-out, I’ve never wanted to be normal so bad in my life. As much as I applaud the Smith kids' dare to be different attitudes, you have to wonder if they've gone too far? I mean, do these kids ever just order pizza with extra cheese and go to the movies? But who has time for the latest Fast and Furious flick when you’re too busy building pyramids?
You heard me. The Fresh Prince of Calabasas who has Drake and the Kardashians as neighbors talked building a pyramid in Will and Jada’s living room as well as his role as a graffiti artist in the new Netflix show The Get Down. He also has a newfound Photoshop fascination that he hopes will help with designing his clothing line.
“Like, the clothes I'm wearing right now, done it on my own. I built my own bed, I built my own closet, um, I built two closets, I built four beds, I built, um, one pyramid—”
“It's at my parents' house. Half of a pyramid. The tip is missing, but the whole structural thing is built, and it sits at 12.5 feet tall. I'll Instagram a picture of it once this comes out, so people know what I'm talking about.”
“Because it's supposed to be 14 feet tall or 16 feet tall, but the tip of the Giza pyramid is actually cut off. There's no tip. It's missing. So I was like, ‘I want to have a missing tip on here, too.’ Because I copied the exact 57.1 degrees that the Giza pyramid is. Obviously I don't have two miniature pyramids next to it. But I have a little pyramid in my actual room, too. One that's just like three feet tall.”
As far as what Will and Jada had to say about their son getting their King Tut on in their home:
“Yeah. Yeah. They always told us to, like, be and do whatever we want.”
And that’s where The Smith's parenting philosophy continues to conflict for me. I’m exhausted just reading the about their profound philosophies and social experiments on humanity, so I can only imagine how hard it has to be for them to create them. Every now and then they drop a gem that leaves me inspired and in awe about the job Will and Jada have done raising them (I saw Willow in concert last year and she is AMAZING). But more often than not I’m just left like:
But maybe they’re just truly cool beyond both their years and mine, and I can’t help but wonder if figuring out the meaning of life before you’re old enough to drink means sacrificing a part of your childhood. Smith says he “rarely goes to parties and aspires to be “one of the craziest human beings to ever exist.”
More than anything I want my daughter to challenge the limits this world has already put on her as a black female. I want her to play with Barbies AND know how to write code. I want her to be able to “whip and nae nae” with the best of them BUT also skateboard Like Tony Hawk if she chooses. But the best part of childhood is that all you’re obligated to do is have fun and screw up.
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There’s a beauty in embracing that. There’s plenty of time for my daughter to do “whatever she wants,” but right now as a parent I believe it’s my job to clearly limit “whatever” to enjoying her childhood and leaving the pyramid building to the Egyptians, especially if she’s only doing it to get a reaction out of people.
When asked about his future goals, Smith replied:
“I just want to teach people how to be comfortable. Stop being so scared.”
It’s clear the Smith kids aren’t scared of much, especially other people’s opinions, which is admirable given that so many kids live and die off of the opinions of others. For today’s Hollywood teens, being raised in a life of privilege, wealth and access arguably makes it easy to not be fazed by much. When I look at it that way, it’s no surprise the Smith kids are creating “Mystery School” rules about sacred shapes for fun. I admire how advanced the Smith kids are in their perception of the world and their place in it, but if Jaden is comparing himself to Galileo at 17, can you imagine what he’ll be doing at 24? If all I have to do to make sure my daughter has a childhood free from the pressure to explore the depths of humanity is buy her some name brand boots, I’m buying the damn Timberlands.