Willow Smith Recounts ‘Intense Racism and Sexism’ Her Mother Jada Faced While Touring with Wicked Wisdom

 Willow Smith Recounts ‘Intense Racism and Sexism’ Her Mother Jada Faced While Touring with Wicked Wisdom

Myles Loftin for L’Officiel

Willow Smith is following in her mom Jada Pinkett Smith‘s rock footsteps.

The “Lipstick” artist, 20, recently opened up about the “intense racism and sexism” she saw her mom face as a kid, when she accompanied Jada on tour with her nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom as a kid. “My mom got so much hate,” Willow told L’Officiel.

“It was intense racism and sexism, just packed on to the tens,” she continued. “People giving her death threats, throwing glass at her onstage. Some crazy stuff went down when she was touring with her band.”

As Willow embarks on her pop-punk era with her recent singles “Lipstick” and “Transparent Soul,” she’s reminded of the adversity her mother faced from the same music community. “I got to see that hate firsthand,” she said. “It was so scary to me, and I think I internalized a little bit.”

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“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,” Willow added. “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.”

Willow recently reunited Wicked Wisdom, filling in for her mom as frontwoman, as she surprised Jada with a Mother’s Day performance.

“When I was, I wanna say about 3 or 4, I went on tour with my mom and her band Wicked Wisdom,” Willow said during the special Red Table Talk episode. “Wicked Wisdom was lit. This is the music that I grew up around. My mother was superwoman, she was a rock star, warrior and nurturer all in one. So unapologetically badass. She was a rock star, and I was living for Wicked Wisdom.”

Myles Loftin for L’Officiel

Myles Loftin for L’Officiel

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Myles Loftin for L’Officiel

With her upcoming album Lately I Feel Everything, featuring collabs with Travis Barker and her “idol” Avril Lavigne, Willow hopes to foray into heavy metal and ultimately bring more Black representation to the genre.

“I just wanted to fulfill that desire that I had ever since I was 10 or 12 of singing rock music, of being a Black woman singing rock music,” she told L’Officiel.

“Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you,” she said to V Magazine earlier this month. “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.”

She continued, “Just through the music that I’m putting out right now and the representation that I can bring to the mix, I just hope that the Black girls who are listening to my music and listening to this album see that there’s more of us out there. It’s a real thing, you’re not alone. You’re not the only Black girl who wishes she could flip her hair to the side, and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?”

Hear Willow Smith take on rock with Lately I Feel Everything, which drops July 16.

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