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Willow Smith saw her mom deal with death threats and racism growing up when she performed in her nu metal band Wicked Wisdom. And now, Willow says seeing that firsthand taught her to “not [be] afraid of other people’s judgments and perceptions.”
In the latest cover story for L’Officiel, the 20-year-old rocker discussed her upcoming July album Lately I Feel Everything, as well as what growing up with a literal rockstar mom Jada Pinkett Smith meant for her own life.
“My mom got so much hate,” Willow said about her mother’s treatment. “It was intense racism and sexism, just packed on to the tens. People giving her death threats, throwing glass at her onstage. Some crazy stuff went down when she was touring with her band.”
After seeing that happen to her mom, Willow shares that she “internalized a little bit,” adding that she uses those memories to help her during times of trouble or when she feels insecure.
“Obviously, she was scared,” Willow said. “But she really showed me what ‘womaning up’ really was, by taking a stance and not being afraid of other people’s judgments and perceptions. I really wanted to just go within that place in myself and try something new, regardless of what my insecurities were.”
Also in the discussion, Willow spoke about her 2010 hit “Whip My Hair,” which she previously spoke down on. But as of late, she’s flipped her feelings on the pop smash.
“I’m not saying anything that’s against my values, and on top of that, I’m saying things that are in harmony with my values,” Smith shared. “I kind of just had a huge aha and was like, ‘Yo, don’t condemn this side of your life because it gave you a foundation and a platform and a fan base of so many loving individuals who have been by my side through this whole crazy, topsy-turvy journey that I’ve had. Now, I would never take it back.’”