Willow Smith says she was bullied for being a fan of punk-rock bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance

Willow Smith says she was bullied for being a fan of punk-rock bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance
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willow smith hayley williams gerard way
From left: Hayley Williams of Paramore, Willow Smith, and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. Douglas Mason/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video; Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images
  • Willow Smith told V magazine that she was picked on for being a fan of punk-rock bands.

  • "I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance," she said.

  • Smith also said that "being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Willow Smith said she was bullied for liking punk-rock bands because she didn't fit the mold of the typical emo fan.

"Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you," Smith told Alexis White, the frontwoman of the metal band Straight Line Stitch, in a new interview for V magazine.

"Now, it's like an added pressure of the metal culture, the metal world, and just rock in general," Smith said. "I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance."

Groups like Paramore (led by Hayley Williams) and MCR (led by Gerard Way) were at the forefront of mainstream punk rock in the 2000s, thanks to tracks like "Misery Business" and "Welcome to the Black Parade."

But Smith, who was first introduced to the music industry through her parents Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, didn't feel like she fit into those fanbases and didn't see as many Black artists releasing that kind of music.

She also recalled seeing Pinkett Smith, who was the frontwoman of the metal group Wicked Wisdom, get verbally abused.

"I've always wanted to do this type of music and always been so afraid to do so because of exactly the reason that you're saying," she said. "And because I saw the hate and verbal abuse that my mom had to go through, that stuck with me."

jada pinkett smith wicked wisdom july 2005
Jada Pinkett Smith performing with Wicked Wisdom in 2005. Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

Smith first broke into the music industry with the 2010 pop track "Whip My Hair." The song was an instant hit, but the pressure was too much for a child. In an act of defiance, at 11 years old, she cut off her hair.

Smith, now 20, returned to music and is doing it on her own terms. She released her debut album in 2015 titled "Ardipithecus," followed by two more albums: "The 1st" (2017) and "Willow" (2019). In 2020, she released a joint album with Tyler Cole titled "The Anxiety."

Smith's latest track, "Transparent Soul" featuring Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, is her first foray into creating pop-punk music.

Smith told White in her V magazine feature that her current music, and the tracks she's releasing later this year as part of an album, is influenced by Pinkett Smith.

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

The singer also said that she feels "embraced" in the industry, especially after a musician from the band System of a Down reposted a video of her playing one of their guitar riffs. But the fans of the group, namely "a lot of white men," directed hateful comments at Smith.

Smith said that she hopes that her music can bring representation to a genre that is typically dominated by white artists and fans.

"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," she said. "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?"

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