Willow Smith on 'Ellen': Watch her perform 'Whip My Hair' here!

Pint-sized cutie Willow Smith of “Whip My Hair” fame showed up for her very first daytime talk show appearance on Ellen today. Armed with quite the quaff of curly hair that—yes!—she whipped around very animatedly, Willow proved that she is indeed a very potent performer. And she’s only 9 years old! It’s impressive. Also impressive? Her familiarity with those who’ve come before her. Willow referenced obvious inspiration Rihanna at the beginning of her show: “You make me feel,” she yelled from the song “Only Girl” before busting into her own song, “like I’m the only girl in the world!” Now that’s how you start a performance! Watch it here:

After performing “Whip My Hair,” Willow sat down with Ellen herself, who spent most of the few-minute interview fawning over the young gal—and even giving her an Ellen-ized neck brace! Watch here:

Willow’s pretty darn good, right?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

More on Willow Smith from EW’s The Music Mix:
Jay-Z signs Will Smith’s 9-year-old daughter, Willow
Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ video: Watch it here
Will Smith’s daughter releases new single: Is she the new Rihanna?

Comments (114 total) Add your comment
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  • jmia


    • FromChicago

      And she sang LIVE! Go girl.


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      • Lynn in AZ

        She did not sing live…her lips were completely out of sync with the track. She is not old enough to be trained in breath control for dancing while singing. She also needs a time out – if my child told me she was “doing what I want”, I’d ground her for six months. Celebrity has spawned another Pop 40 nightmare.

  • Miss Talk

    The Lil’ Wig Snatcher has done it again! Great job Willow!
    She should open the AMAs. At least she can “move” on stage.

    • Sara

      This was Willow’s first performance, and she still managed to outperform every single RiRi performance ever! This girl is coming for wigs! You’ve been warned.

    • Sara


  • rush

    i cant believe how good she is at only 9!!!! personally i think she’s too young, however she has smart parents, hopefully they wont push her to do anything doesnt want to be doing. team willow

  • lena


  • Lisa Simpson

    Not much real singing going on there. She shouts the beginning, then goes into an unintellible monotone, and it’s all overshadowed by lots of (literal) smoke and (figurative) mirrors, drwoned out by a loud band and back-up singers.

    • Banana Cooper

      You do realize she is 9 right? She isn’t mariah carey. She has a long way to go, she is just startng out. Choke back ur critizism.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Why does her age matter if she’s wanting people to spend good money on her music? Judy Garland at nine could sing like crazy. Willow Smith seems to have more PR than actual talent.

      • sweetlittleme10

        Smoke, mirrors, yeah all of that..I will still buy her music. Team Willow. She was awesome. She danced and STILL was able to carry a note. Luv her.

      • mike

        Lisa Simpson, I didn’t realize she was forcing us to buy her music! Thanks for opening my eyes. I can now see this young fascist/communist for what who she is.

      • Barry

        Mariah Carey…another lipsyncher.

      • terrilyn

        Great! job willow,i looove ur song let da hatter,s tlk its only going 2keep u goin further n life and great job 4 settin a positive example 4 young kids ur age awsome job

      • b

        why hold criticism cos she’s 9 years old. Better she be told now she can’t sing a lick. Neither can her father. He’s a rapper – it’s a seasonal job — at christmas. He’s a better actor but unfortunately this kid is being pushed into show biz by her parents. Jada Pinkett hasn’t done a damn thing since she married Smith. I dunno but I think she and Jaden are cute but suck and pushing her down our collective throats is not progressive.

    • Josh

      Oh that “she’s only 9″ argument is tired. Clearly she’s got talent, but people are going to have opinions on her music, because she’s putting it out there and selling it. If she didn’t want people to hear her music, she’d be doing something different right now. Like being a child.

    • 4rocket

      To be fair, not all great singers start out sounding great. If you look up Lauryn Hill performing at the Apollo theater when she was 12, you’ll see that she was nowhere near as good as she was when she joined The Fugees. It seems that she spent the years in between honing her singing until she sounded right. Maybe the same will happen to Willow, puberty makes quite a difference too.

    • SJ

      There was NO literal smoke. The quality of this video is just bad. There is a better quality video on ellen’s youtube channel. Plus there was no band or back-up singers. She sang to the track. All these mistakes you made just shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Bad video, singing to a backing track instead of a live band (something I couldn’t really tell from the video) – whatever. The song is still terrible, and her singing still consisted of shouting and mumbling. Seriously, I don’t understand the raves. It’s really, really bad. Age is not an excuse when you expect people outside of your family to buy your product.

      • SJ

        I watched on TV and she sounded great IMO. You don’t understand the raves because you have a limited understanding of music and how it is very subjective. People love heavy metal, even though it is noise pollution to others. Also, it is more than acceptable to sing to a track. She isn’t the first, she won’t be the last. She is starting up and does not have to get a band for just one song. It’s not like she is on tour or something. Some of your criticism are unfair, but if you can live with yourself saying nasty things about a 10 year old little girl regardless of the situation, then more power to you.

      • Mitch

        Chicks a brat, and this is all because of daddy, will smith. This stunt is pathetic.

      • @SJ

        How very arrogant of you to assume that someone has a limited understanding of music just because that person disagrees with you. The song is lousy, and just because a kid is cute doesn’t mean she has talent.

      • SJ

        “How very arrogant of you to assume that someone has a limited understanding of music just because that person disagrees with you”

        Hey D-Bag, Lisa Simpson can’t understand how it is getting raves. Anyone who does not understand how music is subjective and it has to be judged on variable scales based on the individual has a limited understanding of music. Just because you don’t like something does not mean others can’t appreciate it. Way to twist my comment. It was not about her not liking the song, but her being obtuse about anyone raving about it.

      • chris c

        ur crazy she was great

      • kelcey

        Willow smith is just awsome, she is only 10 so you cannot say her music is not good, maybe some people should listen to the meaning and stop judging her because of her voice. She has a great voice to me, so therefore people can’t say she is only selling music because of her popularity thorugh her parents because people can careless what anybody thinks of them. It is obvious Willow smith just wants to do something to help loosen people up. To many people just care about appearance when it doesn’t matter. So lighten up and stop sayingm cruel stuff about a 10 year old because even though i am not ten a lot of people at my school stay whipping their hair so Lisa Simpson, I just think what you said could be true in your mind but disagree big time.

      • mrs me

        lisa simpson is an ass she wish she sang are move like willow so
        go head with judy or liza they still can’t carry a note.hater!!!!!

      • MBryan

        You are wrong about one thing, she did in fact have backup-singers sitting above her(the three figures on the wall). I personally know one of them , so yes she did have back-up singers during the performance….

    • CJ

      Go Team Willow! I am so excited to see a young positive influence for our youth… And we don’t have to worry about them changing into adult themed music once their young following is established… (Brittney S. and Miley S. point proven)

    • Naj

      She sounded great please cut it out…It’s always people sitting back behind a computer screen WISHING they could do what others do and they can’t so they try to bring them down…STFU

    • stay-c

      For all you haters SHUT THE HELL UP!!She is nine years old living her dreams,as most of you WISH you had half the talent,skill and NERVE to do something great with your pathetic lives.What? she’s not in rehab,pregnant or acting a fool with her life so let’s bash her instead of celebrating that our young beautiful daughters may actually have a positive role model to inspire them. I even solute the song,no sex,he loves me,or spending money on self indulgence in her lyrics,just whipping her hair, like a 9yr old.REFRESHING-and the song is TIGHT-cuz i know i whips my hair to it and I’m 30 OKAY!!!So while you sad haters try to put salt on such a beautiful thing-WE ARE GONNA WHIP OUR HAIR:):):)Since we can’t whip your a_ _ for dissin our Baby Willow HOLLA:)

    • sweets

      Oh please quit hating on a nine year old…the girl got real talent!!!

      • Meziane

        I just love them!! I heard from them from my friend, looekd them up, and I must say it was AMAZING!!!! I would really want to meet you guys! Someday I want to be famous singing because music and singing is my passion!!Love you guys so frigging much!

  • harry

    Woah! kidd has got talent!

    • FromChicago

      Totally agree. She’s a cutey.

  • Caiti

    She’s cute. And professional for a child! It’s so interesting.

  • sammy

    she is her fathers daughter.

    • annie


  • Ron J

    It’s cute. It’s “appropriate”. I like it! :)

  • gonzo

    “Her familiarity with those who’ve come before her. Willow referenced obvious inspiration Rihanna at the beginning of her show”

    uhmmm, is this a joke? anyone listening to any current music would know who rihanna is – and the referenced song came out, what, a month ago?

    also, this song is kinda lame, and not nearly as catchy as anything that Rihanna puts out. and while i’m not necessarily annoyed by her being covered in EW, perhaps this article should mention she’s will smith’s daughter, since that’s 98% of the reason she’s at all famous. gah!

    • banana cooper

      Not as catchy as rihanna. She is 9 years old, why r u expecting so much from her. Rihanna is like 14 yrs older than he OF COURSE her songs are gonna be more ‘catchy’ becuase she is an adult and she can sing about things a 9 year old can’t. For a 9 year old, this song is great. And becuase her dad is famous doesn’t have anything to do with it. In that case she could just be sitting at home, but instead she is actually making an effor by doing her own thing, which is singing. Bravo to the 9 year old. I love ths song

    • @ gonzo

      “uhmmm, is this a joke? anyone listening to any current music would know who rihanna is – and the referenced song came out, what, a month ago?”

      Is YOUR comment a joke? What on earth do you even mean?. Talk about nonsense. Why on earth will someone with normal reading skills ask if that is a joke?

    • mrs me

      gonzo get a life are you in adaze because your talking out your ass.

  • James

    The little girl is cute, and good for get for being successful, but the song is absolutely terrible.

    • sweetlittleme10

      Not too terrible, she has quite the cult following and the song has been out for about 3 weeks. Opinions are like _____ everybody’s got one. Go Willow!

  • JT

    Hope this doesn’t turn into a Lyndsey Lohan situation…

    • Robbyrob

      One would hope a spelling situation would be present for the subjects first name…then we’ll talk.

  • tina

    Well it’s very auto-tuned but better than Miley!. Kind of catchy!

  • sweetlittleme10

    Half of the critics could barely walk and talk but have gall to talk about talent. Let us come to your job, I am sure we could find something YOU’RE not doing right. Don’t like her, don’t watch her perform. Life goes on and she will still be successful without your “blessing”. You ppl are hilar!

  • folded franchise

    I love the part about “whipping my hair back and forth”. It really speaks to me. It must be why I am not surprised so many of you are applauding this as well. Everyday until recently I was wondering why I hadn’t been given the gift of hearing a prepubescent girl sing about the complexities of whipping hair back and forth. The world is now a much greater place. Really, thank you Smith family for this.

    • peyton

      Haha I love this, could not have said it better!

    • Naj

      Your comment just goes to show how BRIGHT you are….It’s not about the literal action of whipping her hair back and forth, it’s about having self confidence when people are trying to bring you do…Sorta like the some of the ppl commenting on this site. If you LISTEN to the actual verses and comprehend then you will understand. Ex “Don’t let haters get me off my grind, whip my hair if I know I’ll be fine, keep fighting until I get there, when I’m down and I feel like giving up, I think again…” Is that easier to understand? SMH

      • Naj


      • Just Me

        100% agree.

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