While Willow Smith is slowly becoming everyone’s favorite pop-punk artist this year, she’s revealed she wasn’t always accepted for being into the genre.
In an interview with V Magazine, the rocker opened up about being a Black woman in the metal and punk crowds, and the bullying she dealt with at a younger age for enjoying rock music in general.
“[B]eing a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you,” Willow shares. “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.”
But none of that stopped Willow from creating her upcoming rock project—which features the Travis Barker collab “Transparent Soul”—as she told the publication that the effort is set to see a collab from personal idol Avril Lavigne.
“I’m so excited that I’m going to be having a song on the album with Avril Lavigne. She is so iconic,” Willow said. “From 13 to 16, she was my idol. It’s really nice to be able to have a quintessential pop-punk record with the pop-punk queen.”
Despite all that she went through in school, however, Willow said she’s hopeful her upcoming work means something to Black girls who feel they want to do something different than what’s expected.
“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,” Willow shared. “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?”
Willow also recently appeared on the cover of Alternative Press’ June issue, where she similarly spoke about the importance of representation in rock music. Give her latest music video a listen below before her upcoming release takes over this year.