This dream went beyond the typical singing into the hairbrush for an audience of my favorite Barbies shtick. I trained to become a triple-threat.
It went well, kind of.
Sick of watching me attempt to tap dance around the house, my mom enrolled me in dance classes. I was pretty good, and thus began my descent into the world of competitive dance, where makeup on youngins isn’t JonBenet creepy, but a necessary component to a first-place performance.
The musical side of stardom, however, was a disaster. My East Bay Area elementary school was too poor to let us all play in the band, so those of us with musical aspirations were forced to take a test to determine our aptitude. At the tender age of nine, my dreams of rockin’ the drums or the clarinet were dashed — apparently, I wasn’t good enough.
I was then begrudgingly thrown in the choir, where I mastered the art of pretending to sing (“watermelon, watermelon”). Faced with my incompetence, I gave up on music for life (that is, until I tried to start a punk band in the eighth grade, but that’s a story for another day).
Through all of this, the Aaron Carters and Lil Bow Wows of the world rubbed it in my face. Their fresh faces and platinum-selling CDs mocked me, saying, “We are talentless cash cows, and you, pathetic child, are not even good enough to play the clarinet.” That resentment prevented me from falling victim to the charm of baby pop stars. I rejected the Jackson Five for Thriller and Off the Wall; I rolled (okay, continue to roll) my eyes at Justin Bieber; I wanted to shred Hannah Montana’s wig. I became a music critic.
But with the snap of a neck, some fabulous hair and a catchy-as-hell chorus, Willow Smith changed my mind.
Willow’s “Whip My Hair” video is the fiercest thing I have ever seen from anyone who isn’t Beyonce. Like a miniature combination of Sasha Fierce herself and Nicki Minaj, the spawn of Will and Jada managed to throw down the catchiest song of the year, and I can’t stop listening.
I’ve thrown out my back trying to imitate her. I’ve caught myself envying her style. And don’t mock me — you know you love it too. Willow’s video has over 14 million views on YouTube, and she’s even killed it on “Ellen” — in tune. Take that, Rihanna.
But the phenomenon goes beyond one little girl with plenty of swagger. Willow is at the forefront of pop music’s newest trend: the fetus wave.
Look at YouTube sensation Lil P-Nut. He’s a seven-year-old with more flow than Drake could dream of, busting out lines like “I’m Lil P-Nut/I’m looking for my jelly” with goofy self-confidence. It’s too freakin’ adorable for words.
The trend isn’t exactly new. “Kids Say the Darndest Things” style, people have always been obsessed with precocious kids. We like to watch children act like mini-adults. It’s endearing. Or creepy.
Thing is, this time around I have finally caught on. Perhaps it was my envy of their famous childhoods (or their lack of skills) that kept me out of this “fetus wave” (I really need to stop calling it that), but now there are a few talented kids out there convincing me otherwise.
I especially have Willow to thank, because with her — like with Michael Jackson — childhood stardom doesn’t necessarily feel like a gimmick. With talent like that, it feels inevitable. Willow is actually. . . good. And my man Lil P-Nut is totally a star in the making. Let’s just hope they don’t succumb to crack and porn like the rest of ‘em. Meanwhile,
I’ll be in the corner wishing I had famous parents. And a clarinet.