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Willow Smith Says She Was Bullied In School For Liking Rock Because She's Black

“Hey, you’re Black. You’re not supposed to listen to that.”

willow smith

Willow Smith has been making waves in the rock world recently. She released a catchy hard rock tune, "Transparent Soul," with the help of Travis Barker and even recently performed with a one-off reunion of her mother's band, Jada Pinkett-Smith's Wicked Wisdom. Today, a new interview was posted where Willow reveals she was given a hard time for liking rock back in the day.

The interview, which appears in VM Magazine, sees Straight Line Stitch frontwoman Alexis White chat with Willow. Willow and White met a few years ago, introduced by Willow's mother, and during the interview Willow cited White as a big inspiration for why she started performing rock music.

Willow revealed during the interview that people would make fun of her for liking rock. She said "But being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you. 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."

Alexis White responded "Yeah, there’s a lot of,“Hey, you’re Black. You’re not supposed to listen to that.”"

Willow retorted "Exactly! And it’s not okay. 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?"

Later on in the interview, White revealed how difficult it was to go on the road and hear racist cat-calls. "Music was totally an outlet for me. But it wasn’t until we did our first major tour after we got signed, that I didn’t really have my eyes open until we played Detroit. Then you had the Neo-Nazis who came out. When I tell you they heckled me the whole show, calling me the N-word. I was humiliated. I think I ran off the stage and cried. I was so embarrassed because I felt like it wasn’t even about me being a female on stage because, if it was a white girl rocking out, they’d be like, “She’s sexy.” I was devastated because this is for real. To not like me because of the color of my skin? It’s a very real thing."

Smith pointed out that her mother got similar threats when Wicked Wisdom was on the road. “She actually got lots of death threats. It would be mostly through letters, though. When she was on stage, people would say violent things and throw shit at her,” Willow recalled. “Luckily, Jaden and I never got caught in any physical crossfire. I used to get sneaked into her shows on the security’s shoulders, put my hands up, and just rock out. I never saw anything violent be done to her, it was a lot of verbal harassment.”

Read the full interview here. Willow's album will be released later this year.

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