This cover story appears in VMAN50, now available to order
“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!
KA: I heard that a lot of your creative [process] and ideas for your [work] comes to you in dreams. How do you [capture] and document this? Do you write your dreams down? What are some of your dreams like?
JS: Alright, this is a good one, too. A lot of the times when I dream, I wake up and I’m on a plane with a bunch of my homies and I write these down sometimes. So yes, I do write my dreams down, but a lot of times I don’t because I have the same dream a lot of the time. Most nights, I’ll wake up on a plane with my homies, you’ll be there, all of my homies will be there, just an inﬁ nite plane of all of my homies. We’ll land, everybody will get off of the plane, and then we go into this resort building and it’s wooden inside and there’s a beach and the waves are always way too big to go in the ocean. We are always at this resort. I have a room and then all of my homies have their own rooms and then I can go to the rooms and I can see whoever I wanna see because they all have a room in this inﬁ nite hotel. And then my dreams mostly consist of the interactions that I have with people when I go into that room or when I go into the other room. My friend Jordan and her boyfriend were right next to me in an adjoining room in one dream, and my dream was just about talking to them and hanging out with them and looking at the ocean views and me trying to get into the ocean, but not being able to because the waves were just going too crazy. So that’s a recurring dream that I have consistently. It’s always like that. So sometimes when those get crazy, I write those down.
KA: That’s awesome. I gotta start writing my dreams. They’ve been pretty intense over here, but I forget. I gotta write ‘em down.
JS: Yeah, you gotta write that shit down.
KA: Okay. Save Earth or restart on Mars?
JS: I have to go with save Earth. I have to go with save Earth because there’s a small group of people that will be able to reset on Mars if they really want to. Just sucking up the ocean and bringing that to Mars and then trying to create a stronger ozone layer on Mars and then trying to make it habitable and putting geodesic domes on it and the solar panels and the generating of all of that.
KA: Let’s go.
JS: Yeah, all of that, that’s not my full vibe. I think I really love Earth. I have a strong bond with Earth where I’m already Bluetooth-connected to it and I just feel the strong bond already. So I think I would have to stay here on Earth and just get it right because there’s just so many amazing things and so much water here already and animals and the Amazon rainforest. I think I’ll have to save Earth, you know? That’s a good one though.
KA: That’s beautiful. Where would you settle down to raise a family?
JS: Honestly, I’ll always be based in Southern California, I truly believe. But I think that for the ﬁ first couple of years of raising a family, raising a child speciﬁcally, I might go to the Bahamas, I think. I might go to the Bahamas and be on the beach and be relaxed and raise my baby on the beach and be very relaxed there. Just chill and spend time with my baby for the ﬁ first years that they’re born, and obviously travel around during that time. Then I would come back to Southern California once the real pivotal years were done, I would start to be based mainly out of California. Like, once school is starting and things like that, I would come back here to do those types of things. But the Bahamas, I think, it’s just such a relaxing place. I think it’s a very spiritual place too, and it’s a place where you don’t have a lot to focus on, so that you can really just focus on your family, your passions, and your goals. That’s the type of headspace that I would wanna be in when I’m starting a family. I would wanna be as meditative as possible, and I just feel very meditative in the Bahamas.
KA: I might steal that answer.
JS: Yeah, it’s a really good one. The Bahamas is awesome, we have to go there as a gang one day.
KA: That would be lit. This might be a heavier question, but I’m interested, I’ve been thinking about it. What do you think makes a good apology?
JS: I think that a lot of people think that a good apology depends on the timeframe and when it happens. I think that might be a part of it a little bit, but I think what makes a good apology is actually feeling that way, and that other person being able to see from your actions, not just your apology, that you actually feel that way and it’s true. Like when somebody says something and then you can see it in their actual life and you’re like, “Oh, wow. That’s true.” They got off the phone with me, but then I still see that the things they said are standing true. I think if it’s honest and if it’s vulnerable, as well. If you can be vulnerable while you’re giving an apology, I think that can make it sincere and it can make it what it needs to be. And also, apologies that don’t require the other person to do something. Kind of a selﬂ ess apology where it’s like, “Yo, it does not matter what happens from this point on, or what you do or anything, I just need you to know this because it’s true to me.” I think those types of apologies are the ones that are the real ones.
KA: I’m gonna sneak in one last question before we go. What’s up with new music? What’s going on?
JS: Bro, I’m working on new music right now! I’m really inspired, I’m really happy. I was just listening to some new stuff. I’m really excited to share my new vision with the world. Not only music, but I’m such a visual artist as well. So are you, and that’s why I love everything that you do. I got music videos that I wanna share with the world, and I really wanna connect with my fans that love my music, and I really wanna connect with my fans that love my videos and the storylines that I tell through those. This year, I have so many unreleased videos, I have so many unreleased songs and ideas that this year, I really wanna get those out. This year I really wanna make that happen and I’m going to, so I’m so excited to share this new side of myself with my fans. I also wanna start making YouTube videos and just talking directly to my fans because I just wanna share with them, you know? I just wanna share with them.
KA: That’d be sick.
JS: Yeah! I just wanna share with people, man. But I wanna lock in with you, bro. We gotta lock it in.
This cover story appears in VMAN50, now available to order
Photography Nathaniel Goldberg
Fashion Gro Curtis
Creative Director Stephen Gan
Hair Pircilla Pae (A-Frame)
Grooming (Jaden) Conrad Hilton
Executive Producer Johnny Pascucci (Photobomb)
Senior producer Kevin Warner (Photobomb)
Production coordinator Merry Nestor
Digital technician Evan Strang
Photo assistants Roman Felix, Kevin Coey
Stylist assistants Mattie Tiggleman, Emma Oleck
Production assistants Paul Draper, Nick Lambrakis
Location Lightbox (Smashbox)