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Monday, November 29, 2021

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Jaden Smith Encourages Black Kids To Be Themselves: “We’ve Got Your Back”

The Smith children have been as eloquent as their parents are when it comes to speaking on their own feelings and more importantly, who they are as people. Having such visible parents hasn’t been an easy task for them but the end result is one that many people admire. Their being open minded is up for discussion again, with Jaden up at the mic.

We often hear more from Willow Smith, as she’s the co-host of Red Table Talk with her mother Jada. Jaden, a musician, activist and entrepreneur himself, seems to always be off doing something that he wants that inevitably these days, is about helping others. He still manages to join in on activities with his sister, Willow.

Fans took note last year of Jaden’s seeming change to his persona and online identities across most of his platforms. While he never seemed to overtly make a statement, the musician started to drop the “Smith” portion of his moniker, choosing to leave the solitary Jaden (stylized in all caps) as his preferred name going forward.

His older sister does seem to be an inspiration for Jaden’s name change, according to a recent interview Jaden gave Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, finally shedding some light on his decision a year ago.

“I realized that Willow changed her name to Willow at some point in time. And that she was no longer Willow Smith. Yeah, it took me a while. It took me a while. Because if you look Willow Smith up, it’ll still come up. But then it took me a while to see that it was just Willow. And I was like, ‘Yo. That’s so strong,'” said Jaden about his sister’s name choice.

On a more recent episode of Red Table Talk, Willow shared some of the reactions that she’s received over the perception that their parents gave people, especially Black people, about their upbringing in the Smith household. Willow said that the shaming from her own people about her and her brother’s sense of self-expression were big contributors.

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“Specifically, with the African-American community, I kind of felt like me and Jaden were like shunned a little bit,” she said. “Like, ‘No, we’re not going to take pride in them ’cause they’re too different. They’re too weird.’”

“Even some of our family members,” she added. “I would feel they thought, ‘You’re too different.’”

Jaden’s reminding everyone that being different is just fine, sitting down with an interview with Amazon Music about his latest album CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3. The younger Smith opened up about how the 60’s and its counterculture movement influenced his music in 2020.

“I’m really connected to the idea of spreading peace and love through music and how in the ‘60s the psychedelic movement really created this culture of people wearing crazy clothes and doing all these things,” says Smith.

Knowing that his own bursts of creativity have been judged over the years, Jaden assures the younger Black kids coming up behind him that it’s okay to be themselves and that people like him have got their “back.”

“For me, when I represent the culture, I just really specifically want to let all the kids that are minorities, specifically the Black kids out there, that you can wear flowers in your hair too or play guitar and sing and do this or spread peace and love and that’s cool. It’s totally something that’s acceptable to do and we’ve got your back.”

See the interview below.

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