Willow Smith: “I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance”
Following the release of her ace pop-punk single t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l in April (and ahead of her new album, which is due out this summer), Willow Smith – aka WILLOW – has spoken about her struggles as a Black rock fan.
Chatting with V Magazine, the musician says she was bullied at school for listening to the likes of Paramore and My Chemical Romance, and she has since felt more pressure working and existing within the rock and metal worlds by being a Black woman.
“…Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you,” WILLOW explains. “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.”
Read this: The 51 greatest pop-punk albums of all time
Detailing how she hopes her journey into the scene helps others, she continues: “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. 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?”
And it won’t just be Black pop-punk fans who can look to WILLOW for inspiration; she also reveals in the interview that she’ll likely be tackling other genres in the future: namely, she also wants to make metal.
“I’m going to go wherever the music is, but I love pop-punk a lot,” she says. “But, where my heart lies, is metal. At some point, that’s definitely going to happen.”
The interview follows on from the launch of WILLOW’s new pop-punk era, with the 20-year-old stating in April that lead single t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l helped her “let go of the insecurities I had about making a project of this genre”.
“I realised that it’s not my voice that can’t sing this kind of music,” she said. “I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I wasn’t sure what people would think.”
Read this: The story of pop-punk in 16 songs
Watch WILLOW guest on BBC Radio 1’s The YUNGBLUD Podcast to chat about managing mental health and overcoming fear.
Slipknot have posted a tribute to their founding drummer Joey Jordison, who passed away earlier this week.