Willow Smith Says Her Mom Faced 'Intense Racism And Sexism' While Touring

By Katrina Nattress

July 1, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Willow Smith is gearing up to release her debut pop-punk album I Feel Everything under the moniker WILLOW, but she's not the first person in the Smith family to show their rocker side. In 2002, her mom Jada Pinkett Smith formed a nu-metal band called Wicked Wisdom.

During a recent interview with L'Officiel, Willow recounted the "intense racism and sexism" she witnessed her mom endure when she accompanied her on tour as a kid.

"My mom got so much hate," she divulged. "It was intense racism and sexism, just packed on to the tens. People giving her death threats, throwing glass at her onstage. Some crazy stuff went down when she was touring with her band."

"I got to see that hate firsthand," Willow continued. "It was so scary to me, and I think I internalized a little bit."

Now that she's embarking on her own journey into the rock world, the 20-year-old remembers how her mom dealt with adversity whenever her own anxiety begins to percolate. "Every time I feel that coming on, I just go back to my memories of my mom and how she would deal with actual physical danger—she just rose above it," she said. "Obviously, she was scared. But she really showed me what 'womaning up' really was, by taking a stance and not being afraid of other people's judgements and perceptions. I really wanted to just go within that place in myself and try something new, regardless of what my insecurities were."

Earlier this month, Willow opened up toV Magazine about getting bullied in school for listening to rock music. "[B]eing a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you," she explained. "Now, it’s like an added pressure of the metal culture, the metal world, and just rock in general. I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance."

I Feel Everything is slated for a July 16 release. Listen to its first two singles, "Transparent Soul" and "Lipstick," below.

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