For and Against: Jaden Smith


Originally published in Farrago Edition Three (2022)

by Carmen Chin
Nepotism babies are Hollywood's own version of an epidemic-you scroll through your Twitter feed one day, and there's some update on a member of the Kardashian-lenner clan you didn't ask for (how exactly did they get famous?), or you're struck with an immediate disappointment, when you find out an actor you liked has A-list parents (I'm looking at you, Maude Apatow). I must make myself clear: nepotism should not be a thing. I can't imagine ever supporting a certain 50 Shades of Grey actress getting a leg up in the industry solely because the matriarchs in her life were Tippi Hedre and Melanie Griffith and nothing else, but Jaden Smith must be excluded from this conversation. First-born child to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden is best described as an enigmatic presence. Forget the passé discourse about his acting or music, and focus on what matters. No one else can call themselves the revered creator of some of the most bizarre tweets Hollywood has seen-"Just Stare In The Mirror And Cry And You'll Be Good" "Most Trees Are Blue", "If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth"-"maybe he's just being quirky," you may think. Wrong. He's a poet. He voiced Kaz Kaan on the abstruse American-made anime Neo Yokio-"it's weird and barely makes sense," you assume. Wrong again; it's camp and takes a higher level of precocity to appreciate. Perhaps above all is Jaden's philanthropic pursuits. He co-founded the spring water company JUST Water at age 12, an environmentally focused initiative to reduce single-use plastic waste, before going on to bring clean water to Flint, Michigan, with The Water Box project in 2019. He launched his I Love You food truck initiative last ear that serves free vegan meals to the homeless, which later expanded as a full-blown restaurant. A huge majority of nepo babies may be anything but worthy of their platforms, but if any of them were to deserve my respect, it would be Jaden "How Do We Know Cupcakes Aren't Afraid To Be Eaten?" Smith. 

by Carmen Chin
Picture this: it's currently SWOTVAC and you've been slaving away in the Baillieu Library for what feels like five hours now (who knows how much time has passed?), trying to catch up on at least six weeks' worth of lecture material to make sure you don't completely biff your exam worth half your overall grade next week. You feel parched; you've only had three cups of coffee to drink and you've left your hydro flask at home. You turn to the vending machine for a quick fix, your eyes scanning the options for water-wait, a $4 carton of water, and it's the only brand available? Preposterous, you have no choice but to fork out four whole dollars for 500ml of aqua, unless you want to risk dying of thirst. The visceral wrath born from this one minor inconvenience leaves you looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Then it hits you: you're holding a bottle of Jaden Smith water. And it's not even good water. How do you mess up the taste of water? He might be what some consider a worthy nepo baby, but the fact remains that he's still a nepo baby. I stand by what I said earlier about his tweets being poetic, nay, avant-garde, but that doesn't mean that Jaden isn't the most pretentious child of nepotism in Hollywood-and the bar is seriously high in that department. No, Jaden, no kid or teenager would want to talk about the political and economic state of the world right now. For someone who was homeschooled by his parents before enrolling in a private school founded by said parents, he's made a handful of asinine statements about education: "School is not authentic because it ends. It's not true, it's not real." No, Jaden, you are no better than us common folk just because you had your future prospects laid out in front of you the moment you were born, or because you bought yourself a $4 million mansion at 18. You know what? Maybe 140 characters should contain Jaden Smith.

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