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Who Is Willow Smith?

by James HargroveJune 17, 2022
Who Is Willow Smith?

As the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith grew up in the public glare. After appearing in a number of films, Smith recorded the smash single "Whip My Hair" in 2010. Eventually, though, the stresses of celebrity caused the young Smith to withdraw from performance. Later, Smith began performing as WILLOW. She overcome personal fears and embraced her longstanding passion for rock in order to release the album Recently I Feel Everything (2021). By doing so, she asserted her ownership of a musical genre with deep roots in the Black community. Smith co-hosts the famous chat program Red Table Talk with her mother and grandmother, in addition to her musical career.

Willow's Early Life and Family 

Camille Reign Smith was born in Los Angeles, California on October 31, 2000. Smith is the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, two Hollywood celebrities. She has a brother, Jaden Smith, and a half-brother, Trey Smith, who are both older than her. Due to her family's position, Smith was raised in the public eye.

Early Acting and Music

In 2007, Smith co-starred with her father in the film I Am Legend. She then starred in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) and voiced a role in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa alongside her mother (2008). Additionally, she appeared on the television program True Jackson, and VP. Smith sang in Neo Yokio and Adventure Time as a teenager.

"Whip My Hair," Smith's debut pop hit, was released when she was 9 years old. The song achieved platinum status and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smith secured a record deal with Jay-Roc Z's Nation in 2010.

Smith had some success with songs such as "21st Century Girl" in 2011, but none of them were as successful as "Whip My Hair." She also grew to loathe the stressful performance lifestyle. In 2012, Smith shaved her head as a protest against continuing her "Whip My Hair" tour. In addition, she decided she did not want to play the title character in a film adaptation of the musical Annie that her father was producing. Smith has claimed that she later began self-mutilation to cope with her mental agony.

In 2018, Smith told Pinkett Smith, "I have to forgive you and your father for the "Whip My Hair" incident. It was mostly Daddy since he was sometimes so severe." Reflecting on her youth career, she told People magazine in 2019: "I was extremely young, and I had a goal, but all I really wanted to do was sing, and I didn't connect that with all the business and stress that came with it."

Smith continued to compose music despite her resistance to the expectations placed on her. Ardipithecus, her debut album, was published in 2015. The 1st and Willow, her subsequent albums, were released in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

'Red Table Talk'

Smith, her mother, and Smith's maternal grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, had a custom of exchanging personal experiences and observations. In 2013, Pinkett Smith filmed and released one of these intergenerational dialogues with no boundaries. Five years later, the women began their own Facebook Watch chat program, Red Table Talk.

The casual setting of Red Table Talk is reminiscent of the family's earlier chats. The three generations of women have discussed mental health, politics, and sexuality on the show. Smith revealed in 2021 that she was polyamorous. Salma Hayek, Kevin Hart, Olivia Jade Giannulli, and Jordyn Woods are among the celebrities that have appeared on the show.

Red Table Talk was awarded the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show in 2021.

Albums: 'The Anxiety' and 'Lately I Feel Everything'

Smith and Tyler Cole's indie rock album The Anxiety was released in 2020. In addition to the CD, Smith, and Cole performed a performance art piece. They spent 24 hours inside a glass cage at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles representing eight anxiety-related emotional states.

Smith acquired a passion for rock while listening to My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 as a youngster. The July 2021 release of her second album, Lately I Feel Everything, reflected these inspirations. The album, produced by Cole, is considered to be pop-punk, however, Smith has stated, "I knew I didn't want to do a purely pop-punk record, I knew that it needed to have a blend of melancholy alternative and more melodic vibes because that's just who I am."

Smith has revealed that Lately, I Feel Everything is the type of album she has wanted to create "since I was actually 12," but she was scared to enter this musical genre. For one thing, her training was in the pop and R&B genres. In addition, Smith had witnessed her mother perform in the early 2000s with her nü-metal band, Wicked Wisdom. She enjoyed her mother's performances but recalls the death threats Pinkett Smith got while touring.

Lockdown during the COVID-19 outbreak prompted Smith to try and overcome her apprehensions over composing rock music. She mentioned 2021 "Even if Black women in the music business are still not widely acknowledged, times have changed. It was my own fears that had prevented me from doing this in the past. Now, I intend to play a role in helping other young women of color realize they are capable of achieving success."

The first single from the album, "Transparent Soul," featured Travis Barker of Blink-182. It reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Avril Lavigne, a prominent punk musician, accepted an invitation to collaborate with Smith on the track "Grow."

Fashion

As a youngster, Smith gained notoriety for wearing gender-neutral attire. Her dress, haircuts, and cosmetics also feature more provocative selections. Smith stated in a 2021 interview, "I'm the type of person who never really dresses up until it's part of my job."

Smith has appeared in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Cartier, and Mugler, among others.

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