In a chat with V magazine, Willow Smith has spoken of the difficulty she’s experienced being a Black woman in a metal crowd. She also revealed that after touring with her mum Jada Pinkett Smith and seeing the shocking way she was treated left her doubting if she wanted to pursue a career in music.
“Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you,” Smith told the publication. “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.”
Willow reflected on a time when she posted a video of herself playing a riff of a song by System of a Down.
“One of the bassists reposted it on his Instagram, and I was so excited,” Smith explained. “Then I’m looking 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 throw shade because it is what it is.”
During the interview, Smith also spoke of her hesitation to get involved with rock or metal music.
“I’ve always wanted to do this type of music and always been so afraid to do so,” Smith said. “Because I saw the hate and verbal abuse that my mom had to go through, that stuck with me.”
Smith shared with the publication that her mum received a lot of backlash simply for being a woman fronting a rock band.
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“She actually got lots of death threats,” Smith said. “It would be mostly through letters, though. When she was on stage, people would say violent things and throw shit at her.”
Regardless of the unjust tribulations that Smith has faced in the music industry, she encourages other BIPOC girls to not be intimidated by the scene.
“You’re not alone,” Smith says as a message to other Black girls who enjoy her music. “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?”
For more on this topic head to the Metal Observer.