How much disdain should a grown man have towards teenagers?
I ask myself this question whenever a group of bad ass kids loudly disrupt a subway train or sidewalk, but I would probably never write the literary equivalent of “I want you meddling kids to get off my lawn and I hate your parents for even having you.” That’s more or less what New York Post writer Kyle Smith wrote as he used his platform to pen a piece entitled “Any reasonable parent would be ashamed of Will Smith’s kids.”
In it, Smith writes: “We don’t know for sure that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith are the most horrible parents on Earth. But the case for that seems strong when you consider their überentitled, brainless, self-adoring, twaddle-spewing little munchkins. These kids are to childhood what the script of After Earth was to writing. Spoiled? Too mild. These kids are nuclear narcissists.”
You would think Willow and Jaden keyed Smith’s car on both sides while singing Justin Bieber’s song with Migos at maximum volume. Smith went on to bitch some more about why Will and Jada’s babies are awful, and by extension, why they are awful parents. Now, I will concede that I, too, read Willow and Jaden’s now infamous interview with the New York Times’ T magazine and found myself confused as hell by their comments. Honestly, they sound like they stopped paying attention in fourth grade and proceeded to just go crazy with their parents’ Amazon Prime account.
Nonetheless, this writer is being unfair. Odd interviews and cryptic tweets or not, there is something admirable about two children – notably two Black children – who push the gender binary, have free reign to be as creative as their privilege allows, and have two loving parents who want nothing more than to see them enjoy the freedom most never, ever get to have. Black people have had to watch weird little White celebrity children act a damn fool for decades now.
Can we please have our little eccentric, free spirited famous Black folk offspring in peace?
I don’t like to see mainstream publications give space for non-Black adults to shun famous Black kids. Likewise, I didn’t care for Kristin Sze, a reporter for ABC in San Francisco, taking to Twitter to question the price of Sasha and Malia Obama’s state-dinner dresses and whether it spoke to the Obamas’ parenting style. In a since deleted tweet, Sze deemed the dresses “too expensive” and asked other moms would they let this happen. You know, because regular ass people always have standing invitations to state dinners.
There is a special kind of audacity required to dare place yourself in the same position as the First Family of the United States. Never mind the reality that the dresses in question could have been on loan. Even if they weren’t, questioning the values of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama is so asinine and disingenuous. America is the stunt queen of capitalism, so no, a Forever 21 dress worn at the state dinner would not really mesh well with what’s happening at the time.
I don’t like the Obama daughters being used as fodder for some adult to make arbitrary points about how they’d do things. It’s not about them. They need to get over themselves
And while Zendaya is not a kid-kid, I also don’t like comedic actress and writer Julie Klausner using her to make some point either. After Zendaya received an award and finished a speech at the Kids Choice Awards, Klausner made jokes about her small frame.
“…And thinspo model for your impressionable tweens,” she tweeted and followed up with, “you don’t have to have an eating disorder to attend the Kids’Choice Awards…but it helps! In response to critics, Klausner said she would not apologize, but at the very least, would be more “thoughtful” moving forward.
I want all of the aforementioned to be more thoughtful moving forward. It’s not about saying these Black kids are above reproach, but there is something to be said of knowing that these are very young people and that maybe, just maybe, there are better ways to go about making a point. Say, I don’t know, by leaving minors the hell alone. As of now, the only people looking childish here are the folks who can legally buy alcohol.