Willow Smith opens up on the challenges non-white women face in rock music

Courtesy of Red Table Talk

Willow Smith, who recently released her pop-punk album lately I feel EVERYTHING, says she wants to help create more space for women of color in rock music.

“I have seen it for so many years — just the hate that not even just Black women [experience] but people of different colors, that aren’t white, that want to come into rock music and into this space,” the 20-year-old told the BBC’s The YUNGBLUD Podcast. “I just hope that I can show young Black girls that… despite the fact that people are telling us ‘We shouldn’t listen to this music.  We shouldn’t dress this way.  We shouldn’t sing this way.’ — We do it and do it to the fullest!”

Agreeing that rock music embodies the spirit of rebellion and freedom, Willow continued, “Specifically what Black people had to experience in America — I can’t think of a better genre to scream and growl and be angry and express yourself than rock.”

“Back in the day, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one of the first Black women to pick up the electric guitar and that was in, what, the 40s or the 50s,” Willow explained. “She was the grandmother of rock and roll and a lot of people don’t know about her!”

Noting of the many people of color who have contributed to rock over the decades — such as her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, the former lead singer of the nu metal band Wicked Wisdom — Willow remarked, “We can’t leave those people out!”

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