Yesterday, the author of Waiting To Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back Tweeted, "It feels like the Smith children are being pimped and exploited. Or, they're already hungry for fame. What about 4th grade?" Cue the ruckus.
McMillan also wrote:
The Smith children already act like child stars. There's an arrogance in their demeanor and behavior. I find it incredibly sad.
A lot of A-list movie stars shielded their children from the Hollywood-world until they were old enough to decide. Look at those who didn't.
Look at Lindsay. Phoenix. To name but a few. They miss out on childhood. It's more important than fame.
These kids don't already know what they "love". Total bullshit. They're not prodigies. They think Hollywood is real.
McMillan's Tweets were Retweeted a bunch of times, and a hubbub ensued, with messages like, "While some of the things ur saying about Will/Jada may be true...Why do u come off so bitter? WOW" and "@MsTerryMcMillan annoys me. Get off Will and Jada's children. Worry about your own womb, and why you haven't written a decent book in years." And even more rude: "@MsTerryMcMillan didn't your man leave you for another man?"
But Ms. McMillan's thoughts touched a nerve: How should we feel about the Pinkett-Smith spawn? Let's place talent aside. Lots of kids love to sing and dance and act — and do so in school, on home videos or at backyard barbecues… Not on a national, professional level, aided by insanely wealthy and über-famous parents. With the larger spotlight comes a huge target, making Jaden and Willow Smith vulnerable to attacks from all sides. And what of the psychological implications? At a certain age, kids, whether they come from money or not, can attempt to assert their individuality by becoming egotistical. Who among us has never met a third grader who acted snobbish, haughty, superior and generally like she thought she was better than her other peers and classmates? Throw money and fame into the mix, and you've got a bubbling cauldron of potentially conceited and self-centered emotions fueled and reinforced by applause, cash, flashbulbs and photo shoots. The recipe for a horrible, boorish and insensitive human being. Confidence is important, but when a child repeatedly hears how great he is, he can start to believe everything he does is awesome, and suddenly he thinks taking a shit is a praise-worthy affair. Child stardom is hazardous; being the child star born of stars can be toxic. The word entitled doesn't even begin to cover it.
Of course, we have little or no idea what kind of values Will and Jada are impressing upon their offspring. Perhaps humility, good will, gratitude and selflessness are taught alongside kung fu, singing and dancing. And today, McMillan herself is contrite, Tweeting:
I raised my son. I'm not wasting another minute worrying about how Will & Jada are raising their kids.
I apologize for using the word pimp and exploit in referring to the Smith children. It was insensitive of me and wrong.
It is amazing, though, how fast an unflattering comment gets retweeted versus one that's flattering.
And perhaps most telling of all:
P.S. I loved the Karate Kid.
Author Terry McMillan Voices Her Opinion About The Smith Children And Young Hollywood [The Life Files]
Terry McMillan [Twitter]