Willow Smith Says She Was Bullied For Listening To Paramore And My Chemical Romance Growing Up
Smith’s classmates seem to be oblivious that Paramore and My Chemical Romance have nothing but bops.
June 09, 2021 at 11:07 pm
With Willow Smith establishing her footing in punk-rock music, she recently shared that she felt Black women haven’t been accepted into the genre historically and revealed that she was bullied in her youth for being interested in it.
In an exclusive interview with V Magazine released this week, Smith opened up about her passion for all types of music and how she was often persecuted for her musical preferences.
“[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,” the 20-year-old said. “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.”
Earlier this month, the “Whip My Hair” singer discussed the pressure she felt from her peers to shy away from the punk scene in a conversation with Alternative Press.
“I remember going to some of my peers when I was in school and expressing to them that I wanted to perm my hair and do the classic emo swoop to the side and them just looking at me going, ‘I don’t think that that’s going to be a good look for you,’” she recalled. “I remember feeling exactly like, ‘Wow, I just want to be a cute emo girl and just live my life.’”
“I think Black people in the rock world in general are still pretty rare. There’s just a tension there and a resistance that I really wanted to push back against,” she added.
Fortunately, the young star had the guidance of her mother Jada Pinkett Smith, a former lead singer of a rock band herself, to help navigate the music industry.
“I loved watching my mom on Ozzfest and touring metal. A lot of people didn’t want her to be doing that. A lot of people felt offended and angry that a Black famous woman was there in their community, doing something that they didn’t want her to be doing,” she expressed.
In spite of all the criticism she faced in school, Willow said she’s hopeful her looming rock music project will help inspire Black girls who aspire to do things outside of what is expected of them.
“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?”
The upcoming project is targeted to include feature collabs with Travis Barker and Avril Lavigne, who Smith said was her idol growing up.
“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. “It’s really nice to be able to have a quintessential pop-punk record with the pop-punk queen.”