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‘People … Throwing Glass at Her Onstage’: Willow Smith Details the ‘Intense Racism and Sexism’ She Says Her Mom Jada Pinkett Smith Faced as a Rock Singer

Willow Smith is following in her mother Jada Pinkett Smith‘s rocker chick footprints but is doing her best to learn from the darker parts of the path.

In 2002, Jada formed the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom and served as frontwoman for the group, going by Jada Koren. The band was made up of herself and four musicians. As a child, from ages 4 to 10, Willow accompanied her mother on tour and was able to witness the magic, but also the horrors, of a Black woman in a predominantly white male industry. The downsides weren’t enough to deter her from a budding dream as a “Black woman singing rock music” began to form by the time she finished touring with her mom.

Willow Smith opened up about the “racism and sexism” her mother Jada faced as a rock singer. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images)

“I just wanted to fulfill that desire that I had ever since I was 10 or 12 of singing rock music, of being a Black woman singing rock music,” Willow told L’Officiel in their cover story interview.

Willow, who released her first pop-punk single “Transparent Soul” in April 2021, was opened up about being personally exposed to the “hate” that her mother received as a Black woman rocker and described the “crazy stuff” she observed as a result of the “intense racism and sexism.”

“My mom got so much hate,” Willow said. “It was intense racism and sexism, just packed onto the tens. People giving her death threats, throwing glass at her onstage. Some crazy stuff went down when she was touring with her band.”

Although she feels she “internalized” some of the fear that came along with seeing the “physical danger” that the “Girls Trip” actress had to endure, she’s been able to use the perseverance Jada displayed as motivation to pursue her own rock dreams

“I got to see that hate firsthand,” she continued. “It was so scary to me, and I think I internalized a little bit…Every time I feel that coming on, I just go back to my memories of my mom and how she would deal with actual physical danger — she just rose above it,” she adds. “Obviously, she was scared. 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.”

In a full-circle moment, Willow joined her mother Jada to perform Wicked Wisdom’s “Bleed All Over Me” during the 2021 Mother’s Day episode of their Emmy Award-winning talk show “Red Table Talk.”

Willow’s single, “Transparent Soul,” features Travis Barker and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Streaming chart on June 26.

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