Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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There have been a lot of famous families in Hollywood that have been dug in for generations. One family that’s just now been establishing a second generation in entertainment is the Smith family, which has covered both music and acting to this point. The current generation of Smiths is young, and includes Willow Smith, who has already had a hit song and has appeared in both film and television. Now entering her adult years, Smith figures to carry on the family name for years to come.Advertisements:
Smith is the daughter of Will Smith, one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood that’s starred in films such as “Independence Day”, “Bad Boys” and “Aladdin” just to name a few. Her mother is Jada Pinkett Smith, who has starred in “The Nutty Professor”, “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Gotham”. The two were married in 1997 with Will having a son from a previous marriage, and since the couple has been together have had two children. Willow was born on Halloween (October 31) 2000 in Los Angeles, california.
Will Smith has been known to work alongside his children at this point in his career, going back to when he was focused heavily on music. Willow had her debut of working with her father for the first time in 2007 when she made her film debut playing Marley in the post-apocalyptic thriller “I Am Legend”. The next year, Smith appeared in a pair of films with “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” and a voice role in “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa”.
Smith then had roles on television with the TV movie “Merry Madagascar” and played the young version of the title character in “True Jackson, VP”. Afterward, Smith had her time to turn her career’s attention to music. In 2010, Smith released her first single (though not from an album) called “Whip My Hair”. The song proved to be a big hit thanks to the virality it received on the internet, nearly reaching the top 10 of the Billboard charts in the United States and was a number two smash hit in the United Kingdom.
Over the next few years, Smith released several more singles before her first album. This included “Fireball” and “I Am Me”, though they couldn’t find the success that her debut single had found. The only top 100 song she had during this time was “21st Century Girl”, which was released in 2011.
Smith signed with Roc Nation records (which was founded by legendary rapper Jay-Z) and started working on her first album. In 2015, Smith released “Ardipithecus” that reached number 15 on the Heatseekers Albums charts. Singles from this album included “Wait a Minute” and “Why Don’t You Cry”. Since then, Smith has released a pair of albums with 2017’s “The 1st” that was released on her 17th birthday, followed up by “Willow” in July 2019. In the meantime, Smith has also returned to lending her voice to television, appearing in both “Neo Yokio” and “Adventure Time”.
Willow has been noted to be a lot like her brother, Jaden, who has been in films such as “The Karate Kid”, “After Earth” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”. They’ve both been very philosophical on social media and in interviews, offering up some odd quotes here and there. When asked if she felt her life was moving fast, Willow said that “I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know (time) doesn’t exist,” adding that she had the feeling of being a “fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.”
She’s come a long way from the poppy and rather simplistic song that put her on the map. “I mean, ‘Whip My Hair’ was a great thing,” Smith said. “When I look back I think, ‘Wow, I did so much for young black girls and girls around the world. Telling them that they can be themselves and not be afraid to be themselves.’ And I’m doing that now but in a whole different way, coming from source energy and universal truths. People will be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to make a song about exactly how I feel, all the bad ways that I feel, and put it out in the world so everyone can judge me.’ But for me, it’s a part of me, it’s my artistic journey.”
You can see a bit of the gap between Will and Willow’s generation now that you’ve seen them find fame at around the same age. “It seems like (older people) don’t understand our thought process,” Willow said. “Or, like, things have happened in the past that they’re still mad about. We want to accept them and move forward. I mean, I can definitely see things that have happened in the past that they’re holding on to and things that are happening right now that bog them down, but this generation wants to transcend them.”
Smith has also said that growing up in the spotlight with her famous parents hasn’t been easy. “Growing up and trying to figure out your life while people feel like they have some sort of entitlement to know what’s going on, is absolutely, excruciatingly terrible,” she said. “The only way to get over it, is to go into it. You can’t change your face. You can’t change your parents. When you’re born into it, there are two choices that you have; I’m either going to try to go into it completely and help from the inside, or...no one is going to know where I am...and I’m really going to take myself completely out of the eye of society. There’s really no in-between.”