Face it: in their 16 and 14 years, respectively, Jaden and Willow Smith have accomplished much more than you. Once you accept this fact of life, you can move on to embrace the profound, teenage wisdom that the Smith Siblings pass on in their recent dual interview with The New York Times’ T Magazine.
On Caring What People Think
JADEN: Willow just dropped a song (“Cares”), let me quote the lyrics: “I do not care what people say.” We both don’t really care. I like to wear things that I make, but I throw it on as though I was throwing on anything. It looks cool, sometimes.
WILLOW: Caring less what everybody else thinks, but also caring less and less about what your own mind thinks, because what your own mind thinks, sometimes, is the thing that makes you sad.
This is an important piece of advice that most American teenagers could behoove from. Jaden cooly quotes from the deep lyrics of his sister’s new song, then goes on to share how outward expression can be a sign of confidence. Willow brings up that classic point that sometimes we are our own worse enemies. Advice on these unique teenagers on how to be happy? Stop caring.
On Time and Temporality
WILLOW: I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.
Really it’s no big deal. To start off the interview, Willow denounces our preconceived, medieval concept of “time.” If Willow is indeed capable of slowing down the hours, that must leave her with plenty of time to eat her humble pie, yum! What advice can we take from this? Just disregard your clock because no regrets.
WILLOW: That’s what I do with novels. There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing.
JADEN: Honestly, we’re just trying to make music that we think is cool. We don’t think a lot of the music out there is that cool. So we make our own music. We don’t have any song that we like to listen to on the P.C.H. by any other artist, you know?
To continue the display of her modesty, Willow mentions another pressing question for teens. Why read? Who cares about stories written by dead people? Her solution: write your own. The same thing goes for music, because heaven knows nothing out there is “that cool.” Clearly, the best thing to listen to while cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway is the sound of your own voice.
WILLOW: I went to school for one year. It was the best experience but the worst experience. The best experience because I was, like, “Oh, now I know why kids are so depressed.” But it was the worst experience because I was depressed.
JADEN: Here’s the deal: School is not authentic because it ends. It’s not true, it’s not real. Our learning will never end. The school that we go to every single morning, we will continue to go to. Kids who go to normal school are so teenagery, so angsty.
Although we can’t be sure how long “one year” is for the time-controlling teen, Willow found that she is, in fact, able to relate to other kids, and her deduction is the same as everyone else’s: school stinks. Her brother expounds on the experience of “normal” school by stating that “normal” kids will never know authentic learning like the Smiths do. So what’s their advice? Drop out.
On Being Crazy
JADEN: I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time. And when I say craziest, I mean, like, I want to do like Olympic-level things. I want to be the most durable person on the planet.
“Most craziest” because remember that school is overrated. Advice? Be crazy.
JADEN: Exactly. Because your mind has a duality to it. So when one thought goes into your mind, it’s not just one thought, it has to bounce off both hemispheres of the brain. When you’re thinking about something happy, you’re thinking about something sad. When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple. It’s a tool for understanding mathematics and things with two separate realities. But for creativity: That comes from a place of oneness.
Just try and wrap your head around “the opposite of an apple” and get back to me when you’re done. But in all seriousness, when channeling your inner creativity, search for that place of oneness.
On Making Your Mark
JADEN: That’s another thing: What’s your job, what’s your career? Nah, I am. I’m going to imprint myself on everything in this world.
This blazoned declaration of confidence is pretty awesome. Even if we all feel on top of the world when we’re 16, don’t just think about it; act on it.
On Societal Change
JADEN: Anything that you can shock somebody with. The only way to change something is to shock it. If you want your muscles to grow, you have to shock them. If you want society to change, you have to shock them.
WILLOW: That’s what art is, shocking people. Sometimes shocking yourself.
This is a great, bold statement that people would do well to take to heart. We know that in 2014 anything goes, so go out there and do it. If you want to change, you’re going to have to shock a few people first.
On Growing Up
JADEN: You know, [babies] become just like us.
Who knew? While it’s clear that at one point we were all babies with heartbeats, we think that what Jaden is trying to say here is that we are all headed different places. Even so, never forget where you came from.
How much of this erudite interview is organically the Smiths’ and how much credit goes to the publicist is hard to say. What we do know is that both of the teens have dropped new albums, not to mention a new app, so even if you didn’t understand anything they had to say in their interview (probably because you went to “normal school”), you can still enjoy their music.
So remember, whipping your hair back and forth is so yesterday. Embrace the present. Shape your future. Deny the existence of time. And as Willow so wisely said,
WILLOW: Because living.
Yes, Willow. Yes.
What advice do teen celebs Jaden and Willow Smith have to share with us normal folk? Find out here!