Willow Smith’s debut single “Whip My Hair” was inescapable when it dropped in 2010, but the song’s success that focused a spotlight on the star led her to what she called a “black hole.”
“It was after that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of just in this gray area of, ‘Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything that I can do besides this?'” she says at the 3:33 mark on the Monday, May 14 episode of Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk.”
The 17-year-old, who was 9 when her song was released, refused to finish her album and explained that after the promotion and tour ended, she began listening to “dark music.”
“It was just so crazy and I was plunged into this black hole,” she says before revealing a secret to her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith and grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Jones. “I was cutting myself. And doing crazy things.”
Willow told her surprised family that she used to cut herself on her wrists — something none of her kin and only one friend knew about — and admitted she “totally lost my sanity for a moment there.”
“I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life. But you have to pull yourself out of it,” she adds. “I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain. But my physical circumstances weren’t reflecting that.”
Willow affirmed her mother’s explanation that the teen hoped to feel real pain to make her emotional hurt tangible. Then, Willow said she came to the realization that cutting was “psychotic” and stopped cold turkey.
The admission struck a chord for several viewers, who commented on it after watching.
“Just found out my youngest daughter is cutting and she has been so depressed lately that I’ve had to put her in counseling,” one user said. “I can’t understand the depression but I am trying and I’m hurt and terrified [because] I’m afraid she will hurt herself badly… 😢.”
“I was happy that [Smith] did not get angry when she found out about Willow cutting herself,” someone else commented. “Instead, she listened to her explain why she did it and why she stopped. That was so powerful.”
“I’m so glad to hear Willow was able to pull herself out of that dark place,” another person said. “I honestly was worried about her when she started the industry so young and everything was moving so fast. Happy to know she was able to recognize the danger early to pull herself out. 🙏🏾.”