Whip My Hair
Young actress and singer Willow Camille Reign Smith, the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her debut performance as Marley Neville in the hit film “I Am Legend” (2007). She later shared a Young Artist Award for “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” (2008). Her voice can be heard in the animated films “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” (2008) and “Merry Madagascar” (2009, TV), from which she netted an Annie nomination. Willow's first single, “Whip My Hair” (2010), made the Top 10 on the U.S. Country charts in 2010 and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has received platinum certification from RIAA.
Childhood and Family:
Willow Camille Reign Smith, nicknamed Will, was born on October 31, 2000, in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of actor/musician Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett Smith. She had two older brothers, Jaden and Trey Smith, who are also actors.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Willow Camille Reign Smith made her feature acting debut as Marley Neville in “I Am Legend” (2007), a post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Francis Lawrence that starred her father. The film debuted at No. 1 at the American box office and created a record as the highest grossing opening for a film for the month of December. Willow received a 2008 Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actress Age Ten or Younger for her performance.
In 2008, Willow played the role of Countee in the dramatic comedy “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” opposite Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell and Julia Ormond. Directed by Patricia Rozema and written by Ann Peacock, the film earned primarily favorable reviews from critics and grossed $17,657,973 against a budget of $10 million. She shared a 2009 Young Artist in the category of Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast for her work.
Also in 2008, Willow provided the voice of Baby Gloria in the animated film “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” which starred the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter. The film received positive reviews from critics and was a huge success at the box office.
In 2009, Willow voiced Abby in “Merry Madagascar,” a Christmas special first broadcasted on NBC on November 17, 2009. She earned a 2010 Annie nomination for Voice Acting in a Television Production for her work. The same year, she also played Young True in an episode of “True Jackson, VP” called “Back to School.” She reprised the role in 2010 for the episode “Pajama Party.”
On October 26, 2010, Willow released a debut single called “Whip My Hair” with Columbia/Roc Nation. Written by Ronald Jackson and Janae Rockwell, the song peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 100 and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It earned platinum certification from RIAA. The song also charted in several other countries, including the U.K. (#2), Denmark (#9), Ireland (#11), Canada (#18) and Australia (#18). The music video was directed by Ray Kay. Her next single, “21st Century Girl,” followed in 2011. It went to No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on the U.K. Singles Chart. Rich Lee directed the music video. In addition, Willow presented an award at the 2011 “Kids' Choice Awards.”
Young Artist: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” 2009