Enlarge Willow Smith (daughter of Will and Jada) discusses being a Black girl into rock in a new double-interview with Straight Line Stitch's Alexis White.

Willow Smith Was Bullied for Being a Black Girl Into Heavy Music


Willow Smith, daughter of famous actors Will and Jada, has been making waves in the rock world lately with an original pop-punk / hard rock song (recorded with Travis Barker) and a Mother’s Day gift for her mom that saw her reunite Wicked Wisdom, Jada’s mid-’00s metal band, with Willow as frontwoman. Both were received quite well by the rock world at large, but it wasn’t always so easy for Willow: in a new interview, she reveals that she was bullied as a young girl for being Black and into rock music.

In a new feature for VM Magazine, Willow and Straight Line Stitch frontwoman Alexis White participated in a dual interview that saw the two chat extensively about what being a Black woman in the rock and metal scene has been like for them.

One portion of the chat went down as follows:

Willow: “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: “Yeah, there’s a lot of, ‘Hey, you’re Black. You’re not supposed to listen to that.’”

Willow: “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?”

Alexis: “I remember Black girls would come out to the shows, and they would have their hair braided and colored. And they were like, ‘I just love being out here because I love this music. Back at school or back at home, they don’t accept me.’ I want people to know that music doesn’t have to have a color. I always heard ‘heavy metal belongs to the white people.’ I hated that so much because why is it about color?”

Later in the chat, White describes being heckled on stage by neo-Nazis at a show in Detroit:

“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.”

You can read the full interview here and check out Willow’s track, “Transparent Soul,” below.

[via Metal Injection]

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