The XX Factor

Whip the Hair but Hit the Books, Too

Willow Smith, the 9-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Smith, has a hit song out and recently signed with Jay-Z’s RocNation record label. She seems like a great kid; bubbly, poised and, like many child stars, or the offspring of stars, very precocious. It’s easy to understand why her catchy single” Whip My Hair ” is a hit; it has a fun, danceable beat and she sounds like another Jay-Z protégé, Rihanna, who signed with his record label at the tender old age of 16.

Willow is also a fashionista in the making, according to this article , and has walked the red carpet at Fashion Week in Milan, among other places. The author of the piece, Helena Andrews, questions whether Willow is too “grown” for her own good but also notes that she seems not to have lost her childlike innocence.

After watching this video of Willow being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, I tend to agree. But I did find the cute fifth-grader’s matter-of-fact revelation that she’s not getting much schooling a bit surprising.

Here is part of her exchange with Seacrest:

Ryan: You’re 9-years-old, you are doing the flash and the red carpet thing, but you’re also learning your times table. That’s where you are in school, right?

Willow: Oh, Yes. I never really get to go to school because I’m always on tour with my father, or Jada is doing something.

Ryan: So is a tutor around?

Willow: Yes, most of the time, but usually I’m working so she comes but never really do work.

Ryan: And what’s the worst thing about math? Cause is math the worst subject for you?

Willow: Yes.

Ryan: Me, too.

Willow: The worst thing about math is that all the kids are ahead of you cause they go to school and when you’re trying to do your math tables, you’re, like, stuck and they’re like, “Oh, it it’s easy, you’re in fifth grade, oh it’s easy.” And I’m like (inaudible).

Will and Jada Smith are clearly engaged and proud parents, and their kids are genuinely talented, but I sure hope that they don’t skirt on their kids’ education just because they have gobs of money. After all, we’ve all heard the stories about onetime child stars gowing up to be broke adults - even when they came from families with money. Of course there’s no telling whether this could happen to Willow and her equally talented actor brother, 11-year-old Jaden - who also discussed his schooling and tutors during this appearance on David Letterman’s show but was not as revealing as Willow - but their parents should probably make sure they hit the books, anyway.

Photograph of Willow (r) and mother Jada Pinkett-Smith by AFP for Getty Images.