“Jaden Smith Is Not Dead,” reads one headline from a Snopes article in January of 2023. The clariﬁ cation arrives on the tails of a viral Facebook hoax that claimed the opposite; a strange yet popular trend in the world of fake news. But why? Because Smith is a public ﬁ figure, a term that people often misinterpret as “belonging to the public.” Such is the bizarre world of celebrity at the moment—like folklore or mythology, we adjust their stories to ﬁ t our whims and likings.
On the contrary, Smith is very much alive—a fact he greets with gratitude each and every morning. Especially because this year will see the actor and musician releasing new music and visuals, all in the hopes of connecting or reconnecting on a deeper level with throws of adoring fans. VMAN asked the artist and global obsession to speak with his friend and inspiration, Kevin Abstract, for a conversation about raising kids, where to get pancakes in Paris, and forthcoming art.
JADEN SMITH: What are you doing in Paris, bro? How’s fashion week?
KEVIN ABSTRACT: Let’s go. It’s been awesome. I haven’t made many fashion shows, I’m not out here living like you, but this is my second time here and I’m pretty happy. I’m pretty happy to be here. I could low-key see myself living in Paris for like a year.
JS: Yeah, Paris is dope. Paris is really, really dope. I saw you went to a fashion show sitting in the front row and stuff. I was like, my guy’s locked in right now.
KA: I have to start with asking…can you describe to me the feeling of watching Passengers while listening to “Passionfruit” on loop? And why were you ever in a situation where you were doing that? (Laughs)
JS: That is such a good way to start. That’s the best question already. As you watch Passengers, at the beginning the spaceship is just going through space and when you’re playing “Passionfruit,” it feels like, “Oh my gosh, this is the best Drake music video you’ve ever seen in your life.” It just makes sense with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Their whole relationship, in the ﬁ lm it’s about passion but from miles away. They’re in the middle of space, he wants to be with her, but she’s so far away from him because she’s sleeping in the cryo-sleep space stuff. It’s just the best song and movie combo that I’ve ever freaking seen besides the Pink Floyd album and Alice in Wonderland. That combination is so insane. I did that for so long, I would invite people over and I wouldn’t tell them what we were doing. We’d just get high and do that. When you mix these kinds of things it’s kind of a spiritual experience. So I’m so glad that you mentioned that because I just highly recommend doing it!