Willow Smith Says She Was Bullied Because She Liked Punk-Rock Bands

  • Willow Smith told V magazine that she was cast as a fan of punk-rock bands.
  • “I used to get bullied at school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance,” she said.
  • Smith also said that “being a black woman in the metal business is very, very different.”

Willow Smith has said she was bullied because she liked punk-rock bands because she didn’t fit the mold of the typical emo fan.

“Being a black woman in the metal business is very, very different on top of the pressures the music industry puts on you,” Smith told Alexis White, lead singer of metal band Straight Line Stitch, in a post. new interview for the magazine V. .

“Now it’s like an added pressure from metal culture, the metal world and rock in general,” Smith said. “I used to get bullied at school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance.”

Bands like Paramore (fronted by Hayley Williams) and MCR (fronted by Gerard Way) were at the forefront of mainstream punk rock in the 2000s, thanks to tracks like “Misery Business” and “Welcome to the Black Parade”.

But Smith, who was first introduced to the music industry through her parents Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, didn’t feel like she fit in with those fanbases and didn’t haven’t seen so many black artists releasing this kind of music.

She also remembers seeing Pinkett Smith, who was the lead singer of metal band Wicked Wisdom, being verbally abused.

“I’ve always wanted to do this type of music and I’ve always been so scared to do it because of exactly the reason you say,” she said. “And because I saw the hate and the verbal abuse that my mother had to endure, it stuck with me.”

jada pinkett smith wicked wisdom july 2005

Jada Pinkett Smith performs with Wicked Wisdom in 2005.

Bill Tompkins/Getty Images


Smith broke into the music industry with the 2010 pop track “Whip My Hair.” The song was an instant hit, but the pressure was too much for a kid. In an act of defiance, at age 11, she cut her hair.

Smith, now 20, has returned to music and is doing it on her own terms. She released her first album in 2015 called “Ardipithecus”, followed by two other albums: “The 1st” (2017) and “Willow” (2019). In 2020, she released a joint album with Tyler Cole called “The Anxiety”.

Smith’s latest track, “Transparent Soul” with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, is his first foray into creating pop-punk music.

Smith told White in her V magazine article that her current music and the tracks she will be releasing later this year as part of an album are influenced by Pinkett Smith.

“I think seeing my mom on stage and how she commanded the music and the band made me realize that’s what I want to be,” she said. “I want to be this strong woman who puts everything on stage.”

The singer also said she feels “embraced” in the industry, especially after a musician from the band System of a Down reposted a video of her playing one of their guitar riffs. But the band’s fans, namely “a lot of white men”, directed hateful comments at Smith.

Smith said she hopes her music can bring representation to a genre that is typically dominated by white artists and fans.

“I just hope that black girls who listen to my music and listen to this album see that there are more of us,” she said. “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?”

Virginia F. Goins