Willow Smith Opens Up About Feeling 'Unsafe' in Her Music Career

The 20-year-old artist spoke candidly about the struggles she's faced throughout her career, touching on stereotypes and her "very fragile" mental health state.

Willow Smith

Image via Getty/Rich Fury

Willow Smith

Willow Smith admits her mental health is in “a very fragile state.”

During a recent appearance on The Yungblud Podcast, the 20-year-old artist spoke candidly about the struggles she endured throughout her career, and how her reactions to those difficult experiences were dismissed as “bratty” behavior.

“For so long, I had a lot of fear. I felt extremely unsafe in my music career in the past and that feeling of insecurity or unsafety, like I didn’t feel protected, which went really deep,” she revealed. “It’s interesting because all of those memories and emotions have just been resurfacing.”

Smith recalled her recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and said she experienced a familiar feeling of worry and tension. 

“I had like a flashback of being like 10 or 9 and having like an anxiety attack on set and basically feeling like everyone around me was like ‘You’re just a brat.’ ‘Why aren’t you grateful?’” she explained. “They didn’t see it as an anxiety attack — they saw it as a tantrum, and now I look back and know it was an anxiety attack.”

She continued: “[I] tell myself that, ‘You’re not 9, you’re a grown-ass woman.’ I have to retrain my mind. My mental health is in a very fragile state, but I think it’s in a state where it’s about to grow in a really awesome way.”

🖤 @OfficialWillow chats to @yungblud about going back into the music industry and coping with anxiety attacks.

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— BBC Sounds (@BBCSounds) July 29, 2021

Earlier in the interview, Smith also touched on the difficulties many POC face in the rock ’n’ roll world. The artist, who released her I Feel Everything album earlier this month, pointed out that women and racial minorities are faced with lots of obstacles and prejudices when trying to make their mark in rock music.

“I have seen for so many years, the hate that not just Black women [get] but people of different colours, that aren’t white, that want to come into rock music and into this space,” Smith said. “I just hope that I can show young Black girls, that despite the fact that people are telling us ‘We shouldn’t listen to this music, we shouldn’t dress this way, we shouldn’t sing this way’, we do it! And do it to the fullest! And it’s kinda the best that it’s ever been done.”

You can listen to Smith’s full interview here.

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