Will Smith was in Philly this past weekend at Temple University to do an open sit-down discussion for "Real Talk with Sister Souljah and Will Smith," where he and Sister Souljah spoke openly about personal aspects of love and family, rather than talk standard career discussions. One topic that came up was Willow Smith pulling out of the "Annie" remake. It was previously reported that she pulled out because she was too old for the part, but in reality Will stated that Willow's heart just wasn't into it, and that she'd much rather just live her life as a normal 12-year-old child for now.
"In the past eighteen months, I have spent a lot of time focusing on the emotional aspect of my life and my family. In 2010, in one year, our family had the 'Karate Kid', we had 'Whip my Hair', we had 'Hawthorne', and at the end of the year, we did the Nobel Concert when Barack Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize. Don't be clapping yet, that wears you out. The thing that had become very clear to me is the danger of a material world and focusing so hard on coming up with money or a house or a job. You focus so hard on those things, and sometimes you can lose focus on why you are doing it in the first place. The only reason to do any of that is to have love.
"Willow was supposed to be doing 'Annie', we got Jay-Z to do the movie, got the studio to come in and Willow had such a difficult time on tour with 'Whip my Hair' and she said, 'You know Daddy, I don't think so' and I said, 'baby, hold up! I said no,no,no, listen, you'll be in New York with all of your friends and Beyoncé will be there. You will be singing and dancing,' and she looked at me and said, 'Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.'
"I'm really learning through Willow the necessity that we have to snap ourselves back and refocus on the emotional needs of the people that we love. Someone's emotional needs can be very very different from your dreams and what you think they should be doing and where they are supposed to be."
How do you feel about Will Smith's decision to put his daughter's emotional needs before his own hopes for what he wants for her future?