Willow Smith is fed up with music being race-related.
Mainstream music has generally associated black female singers with R&B, while rock has been dominated by white males. In a way, the very idea of a black rockstar is so radical, it’s punk rock – and Smith would like to change that.
In a candid conversation published in V Magazine On Monday, Smith discussed the racial complications that come into play when you’re black and just love rock with Alexis White from metal band Straight Line Stitch.
The “Whip My Hair” singer – who recently released the pop-rock single “Transparent Soul” with Blink-182’s Travis Barker in April – has spoken openly with White about how she is hesitant to pursue the more gritty genre of music and aggressive.
“I’ve always wanted to do this type of music and I’ve always been so scared to do it,” Smith told White. “Because I saw the hatred and verbal abuse that my mother had to endure, it struck me. “
Smith spent his formative years on tour with his mother Jada Pinkett Smith’s band, Wicked Wisdom.
Watching his mother lead a metal band certainly had an impact on Smith – so much so that Smith recently surprised Pinkett Smith in reunite your old band and play their song “Bleed All Over Me” for her mother on Mother’s Day.
Smith also spoke about how watching Pinkett Smith had inspired her.
“My mother was Superwoman, she was a rockstar, she was both a warrior and a nurturer. So shameless badass, ”Smith recalled on an episode of“ Red Table Talk ”.
But Smith noted in his V Magazine conversation with White (whose Smith group was introduced by Pinkett Smith) that while the experience was uplifting, it also had a dark side. Smith told White that his mother had been harassed a lot just for leading a rock band.
“She actually received a lot of death threats,” Smith said. “It would mostly be through letters, though. When she was on stage, people would say violent things and throw shit at her. “
Smith said that luckily she and her brother, Jaden Smith, “were never caught in a physical crossfire” while on tour with their mother. But the negativity was palpable.
“I never saw anything violent being done to her, it was a lot of verbal harassment,” Smith said.
Smith also admitted that as a child she herself was bullied just for liking the emo.
“Being a black woman in the metal world is very, very different from the pressures the music industry puts on you,” Smith told White. “Now it’s like extra pressure from metal culture, the metal world and rock in general. I used to be bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance.
Smith also recalled once she posted a video of herself playing a guitar riff from one of her favorite bands, System Of A Down.
“One of the bassists reposted it on his Instagram, and I was so excited,” Smith explained. “Then I look at the comments, and it’s just a lot of hate. It’s just a lot of white men, and I’m not going to cast a shadow because that is what it is.
But ultimately, Smith doesn’t want these barriers to hold back other black girls who love his music.
“You are not alone,” Smith said. “You’re not the only black girl who wishes you could flip her hair to the side and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?”
Head over to V Magazine to read the full conversation from Willow Smith and Alexis White.
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