“Whip My Hair” by Willow

Willow’s “Whip My Hair” is a dance song. And as such tracks tend to entail, one of its main purposes is indeed to inspire partygoers to get loose. Indeed this is one of those kinds of tunes that has its own unique dance move associated with it. And as far as how said move goes, the title is more or less self-explanatory in that regard. 

So if you don’t have long locks like Willow did at the time, this move basically consists of rapidly spinning your head around on your neck in like a vertical circle.

Key Message in “Whip My Hair”

But more to the point is this dance being symbolic of the overall message of the piece. And that message, most simply explained, is based on Willow advising listeners not to be afraid to be themselves.

So under her perception whipping your hair would be akin to an individual asserting her individuality. And on one hand, perhaps it can be argued that jerking your head around in such a repeated, monotonous, easy-to-replicate motion is the antithesis of an expression of individuality. But at the same time if you watch someone actually performing the move, then it must be admitted that it takes a certain amount of not giving AF – which is always a prerequisite in terms of being yourself – to actually pull it off in public.

Willow's "Whip My Hair" Lyrics

So conclusively, Willow is in fact whipping her hair and advises all of the ladies in the house to do the same. But she is doing so as part of an overall personal empowerment piece which, as implied, is directed most specifically towards females.

Willow explains "Whip My Hair"

Music Video

The official visual to this song was directed by a tenured professional who goes by the name of Ray Kay. The clip was filmed in Los Angeles, which is where Willow was born and with said city being her base of operations. And the video went on to receive a couple of nominations in 2011 at the NAACP Images Awards and the BET Awards.

Facts about “Whip My Hair”

On 26 October 2010, “Whip My Hair” became Willow Smith’s – who tends to simply go by the name Willow as far as her music career is concerned – debut single. At the time she was just a few days shy of turning 10 years old. And the label behind the track is Roc Nation, whom she also signed with that very year.

Willow didn’t write “Whip My Hair”. The artists that put this song together, in terms of writing it, are Janae Rockwell and Ronald M. Jackson. And the piece was produced by Jukebox and OmArr.

“Whip My Hair” interpolates a 2008 Soulja Boy track entitled “Turn My Swag On”.

The first person to actually tease this track or more specifically publicize the fact that Willow was coming out with music is recognized as her mom, established Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett-Smith. And she did so during an episode of a talk show entitled Lopez Tonight that aired a few months prior.

The first time Willow actually performed this tune live was also on a talk show, that being The Ellen DeGeneres Show. And that particular episode is dated 2 November 2010.

Achievements

“Whip My Hair” was well-received, nationally and internationally. This was due to two things. The first is its powerful message. The second is due to the fact that it is very child-friendly. As such it has been utilized by children-based franchises such as Sesame Street and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The song was also an overall commercial success, strongly appealing to adults as well. So for instance it peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was in addition to being certified platinum stateside.

“Whip My Hair” performed even more impressively across the pond as far as music listings go. It topped the UK R&B Chart and fell just a spot short of replicating the feat on the UK Singles Chart proper. It also achieved silver status in England and around the world charted in 15 countries.

Whip My Hair

On which album does “Whip My Hair” appear?

This song did not come out as part of any album. In fact Willow didn’t get around to actually putting a full-lengthy until 2015’s “Ardipithecus”. And her first EP, simply entitled 3, wasn’t until the year prior.

More Facts

Willow’s parents, the aforementioned Jada Pinkett-Smith and perennial Hollywood leading man Will Smith, are infamously liberal when it comes to raising Willow and her big bro, the equally-famous Jaden Smith. However, this song becoming a hit and the type of independence – for lack of a better word – that afforded the young lady did cause some friction within the family. 

In fact according to Willow’s own recollection, Will was so “harsh at certain times” that it took her “a couple of years” to forgive him. But ultimately she did come to the realization that such advisors were in fact more knowledgeable of the game than she was. Meanwhile as Big Willy himself recalls, ‘his entire family rejected the direction of his leadership’ back during the Whip My Hair days.

In mid-2021 another child born into an A list family, North West (daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West), made headlines performing the “whip my hair” dance to this song, as posted online by her mom.

As of the writing of this post in 2021, Willow Smith herself has released over 10 singles, as well as being featured on tracks by other artists. And throughout it all she has collaborated with the likes of Kid Cudi, Travis Barker, Nicki Minaj and of course Jaden. But “Whip My Hair” still serves as the most-successful song she ever participated on. 

And coming in second place would be another of her solo tracks, 2016’s “Wait a Minute!”, which only charted in Belgium but still managed, like “Whip My Hair”, to be certified platinum in the US and Australia.

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