Opinion: Don’t Retweet Jaden Smith Manifesto

For whatever reason, earlier this week, teen star Jaden Smith felt compelled to share the following philosophies with his 4+ million Twitter followers:




Considering his silver spoon upbringing as an offspring of Will and Jada (and an individual net worth of approximately $8 million), it may seem natural to him that going to school isn’t a necessity in his life, but what has convinced him that attending school is some form of fascism?

By the time of this post, I’m still unclear as to whether his tweets were a publicity stunt or a sincere case of bemusement.  Either way, his capitalized remarks were a disservice to the youth of America, and yes, even more so to Black youth.

Maybe he’s unaware, but it’s been reported that HBCUs are slightly endangered because of decreased funding and support, which is part of the larger picture of universities receiving less college applicants, while 2008 graduates are just finally finding their ground. Smith’s tweets only add even more pessimism. The question of whether a a degree even matters anymore is harmful to an impressionable youth who sees acting like a fool on TV as a potential source to paying the bills.

Luckily, not all children of Hollywood have given education the cold shoulder. Sean “Diddy” Combs has publicly congratulated his first born Justin in earning a full football scholarship to UCLA, and will be joined by Jamie Foxx’s daughter Corrine.  Academy Award nominee James Franco has aggressively attended classes at NYU, USC, UCLA, and Yale, and released a short story collection.

Why doesn’t Jaden be a real triple threat as a rapper, actor, and undergraduate (in the near future)?

Jaden’s seeming confusion comes only two months after Rachel Jeantel, the star witness of the Trayvon Martin trial was awarded a scholarship to a college of her choice by radio host and philanthropist Tom Joyner after her significant interview with Piers Morgan.

This past August, that rare form of the child prodigy re-surfaced as humble Carson Huey-You was accepted into the Texas Christian University–at the age of 11–for Quantum Physics, following a SAT score of 1770.

School may not be for everyone, that we can acknowledge. Lil Wayne was an honor student that dropped out at 14 to pursue a hopeful rap career that worked out for him, but such a risk requires chutzpah and nothing short of complete dedication with a side of luck.

It’s easy to stay away from the burden of homework, but to have a goal afterwards and stick to it is another battle. For Smith to pronounce school as irrational was reckless. The only tweet of his with some rudimentary substance was “Education Is Rebellion,” as we could give it a positive twist. In the days of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, being able to express yourself through the written word was one of the ultimate acts of determination and proving oneself to the world. However, in Jaden’s mind, it appears that rebellion is not something that’s revolutionary and inspiring. It’s supremely ill-informed. Having made himself the new pseudo rebel with certainly no cause, his fan base needs to remember that they are not part of the fortunate position he was literally born into.

President Obama presented a reminder to the kids of America that the individuals covered on TMZ and Bossip are not, and should not, be our guiding lights of  inspiration. In using a certain star couple as examples during a recent Kindle Singles interview, he said: “There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren’t monitoring what Kim Kardashian was wearing or where Kanye was going on vacation, and thinking that was the mark of success.”   Occasionally, we are led by a skewed vision of what makes us great.  No one is saying you should apologize for achievements whether it be earning a coveted internship, or holding down a job, or finally getting to walk that gilded road of A-list status as an award nominee.

Even Nicki Minaj encourages her “Barbz” to stay in school. To be more mindful of what he says and does could be the greatest accomplishment at this point in Jaden’s career following this social media faux pas.


Follow C. Shardae Jobson at @lavishrebellion