'You're not alone': Willow Smith hopes punk-influenced album will inspire young black women to rock

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Willow Smith is ready for Black girls and women to embrace their place in rock music.

The celebrity offspring/budding musician, 20, talked about her love for punk in the latest issue of V Magazine, telling the fashion rag why she was reluctant to embrace her voice and how she now hopes to add more representation to the rock world.

Willow showcased her edgy-chic style while explaining: ‘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 that 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 that wishes she could flip her hair to the side and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?’

Punk rocker: Willow Smith opened up about her love of punk rock and her goal to make the genre more diverse in a new profile for V Magazine

Punk rocker: Willow Smith opened up about her love of punk rock and her goal to make the genre more diverse in a new profile for V Magazine 

Smith has had quite the creative evolution through the years, opening up about her path with Alexis White from the metalcore band Straight Line Stitch.

After starting her career at 13 with the infectious Whip My Hair, Willow got dreamy and experimental with her EPs Willow and The Anxiety. 

Explaining how she was introduced to a range of genres as a youngster, she said: ‘Both of my parents just constantly had me in the studio with them while they were working, doing so many different things. 

‘I was exposed to a lot of different walks of life at a very, very young age.’ 

But Smith always gravitated towards punk, partially inspired by watching her mom front the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s.

V for very nice: Willow showcased her edgy-chic style in an array of Valentino looks

V for very nice: Willow showcased her edgy-chic style in an array of Valentino looks

Inspiration: Willow showcased her edgy-chic style while explaining: '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 that are listening to my music and listening to this album see that there's more of us out there'

Inspiration: Willow showcased her edgy-chic style while explaining: ‘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 that are listening to my music and listening to this album see that there’s more of us out there’

Evolution: Tough cookie: The rising star recently returned to those roots, releasing her pop-rock track Transparent Soul,' which features drumming from Blink-182's Travis Barker

Evolution: Tough cookie: The rising star recently returned to those roots, releasing her pop-rock track Transparent Soul,’ which features drumming from Blink-182’s Travis Barker

Bold: 'It's a real thing. You're not alone. You're not the only Black girl that wishes she could flip her hair to the side and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?'

Bold: ‘It’s a real thing. You’re not alone. You’re not the only Black girl that wishes she could flip her hair to the side and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?’

The rising star recently returned to those roots, releasing her pop-rock track Transparent Soul, which features drumming from Blink-182’s Travis Barker. 

‘I think that seeing my mom on stage and how she commanded the music and the band just made me see “That’s what I want to be. I want to be that strong woman who is putting it all out there on the stage.”‘

But still the star was reluctant to embrace rock music, worried about how her voice fit the genre.

‘I felt like I couldn’t really do rock because my voice was trained to be a certain way. For a really long time, I was like, “Oh, I don’t think it’ll be authentic; I’ll just sound like an R&B singer trying to be a rock singer.” 

It took until the pandemic for Willow to overcome that fear after finding herself stuck creatively.

‘I tried this over quarantine and wanted to do something different,’ she said. ‘I wanted to shake something up and feel a different vibe. 

Like mother, like daughter: Smith always gravitated towards punk, partially inspired by watching her mom front the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s

Like mother, like daughter: Smith always gravitated towards punk, partially inspired by watching her mom front the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s

Inspiration: 'I think that seeing my mom on stage and how she commanded the music and the band just made me see "That's what I want to be. I want to be that strong woman who is putting it all out there on the stage"'

Inspiration: ‘I think that seeing my mom on stage and how she commanded the music and the band just made me see “That’s what I want to be. I want to be that strong woman who is putting it all out there on the stage”‘

Evolution: 'I feel very stagnant in this pandemic, so I started just messing around. It took a couple of demos to find that right balance because I do have a very alternative voice'

Evolution: ‘I feel very stagnant in this pandemic, so I started just messing around. It took a couple of demos to find that right balance because I do have a very alternative voice’

‘I feel very stagnant in this pandemic, so I started just messing around. It took a couple of demos to find that right balance because I do have a very alternative voice.’

That voice translates into the young star’s eye-catching personal style. 

In the accompanying spread, Willow rocked long braids, sharp winged eyeliner and an array of bold Valentino looks styled by Nicola Formichetti.

She touched a bit on her fashion taste during the chat, describing her look as ‘a little bit of grunge, a little bit of punk.’

‘I’m trying to go for a more psychedelic feeling,’ Willow added. ‘I don’t want to do the regular, grunge, punk vibe. I want to bring something a little weird into it. That’s not usually there in fashion.’

Fashionista: She touched a bit on her fashion taste during the chat, describing her look as 'a little bit of grunge, a little bit of punk'

Fashionista: She touched a bit on her fashion taste during the chat, describing her look as ‘a little bit of grunge, a little bit of punk’

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