LOS ANGELES – Is Willow Smith 12 going on 22?
The daughter of Hollywood heavyweights Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith is getting flack for her latest track, “Summer Fling,” which many have branded disturbingly mature.
Here's a snippet.
“The bright sun and the blue water, we fight less and love harder. You tell me that I’m the one, I tell you it’s just for fun,” Willow croons in the song, at times adopting an odd British accent. “We walk the beach at midnight, and watch the stars in the clear skies. We both say I love you, but it’s alright… If you wanna talk I guess that’s alright, if you wanna walk under the night sky, I don’t really care cause we got tonight ,oh baby…”
The pre-teen also appears in the song’s music video (of course) with a seemingly much older male love interest. They romp around and stare at one another lovingly. Nothing explicit beyond hugs and hand holding takes place, but many are alarmed by the “fling” concept and have interpreted it as something sexual and highly ill-suited.
“Willow is singing about having sex and this is totally inappropriate and not in line with the developmental physical, mental or emotional stages of a 12 year old girl who is barely an adolescent; the video reveals that she is still a little girl – not a teenager,” human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, PhD, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “She is not mature enough mentally or emotionally to be boasting that she and her ‘fling’ are walking ‘the beach at midnight.’”
Critics also haven’t held back in lambasting her famous folks for allowing the track and its subsequent music video to be released.
“Her parents are being irresponsible and verging on negligent by failing to fulfill their role as parents – to guide their daughter and set boundaries and limits for her,” Wanis said. “While children might rebel, they actually need boundaries, discipline, guidance and wisdom. And the Smiths are obviously not doing that.”
According to therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin, the adult content of “Summer Fling” raises questions around how far her parents are allowing their preteen to go.
“They are obviously allowing her to model them. Twelve is a young age to date, moreover have a meaningless ‘fling,’ if indeed she fully understands how most people will interpret this term,” Irwin explained.
Dr. Janet Rose of ParentingGirls.com concurred, saying she is “appalled at the message this video is sending our young girls. What are her parents thinking? I am literally sickened at the impact this popular singer is having on our young."
Some cmmenters on her YouTube video were also less than impressed.
“This video is very disturbing in every sense of the word!! This child is obviously not in control of what she sings and how her videos are produced, therefore it makes me question her ‘teams’ agenda,” exclaimed one YouTube commentator. Another questioned “where are her parents?” and another observed: “Some girls or boys get in puberty at early years so its normal. But a real dad never lets his daughter make vids like this.”
Still some say the controversy is much ado about nothing.
“I don't see anything in the lyrics that someone would be upset about. I think a lot of people have dirty minds and are imagining something that's not there,” observed one commenter, while another weighed in that “she can do whatever she wants, and I loved the song and video” while another argued: “it's just summer fun with her friends you don't see anything inappropriate happening people really need to stop the judging, what an incredible voice.”
Pop culture expert Jenn Hoffman is also sticking by the young Smith’s song.
“When I was 12 years old I was madly in love with my boyfriend. To tell me otherwise would be completely dismissive of the feelings I was going through at the time.," she said. "Who are we to tell Willow Smith that she is too young to be feeling these things? In 2013 12 years old doesn't seem too young for a legit summer fling."
USA Today also gave it a big thumbs up as their “Song of the Week.”
Reps for Willow, as well as for Will and Jada Smith, did not respond to a request for comment.