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

She shared the message she wants to send to young Black girls with her career.

Willow Smith opens up about challenges non-white women face in rock music
Rich Fury/Getty Images, FILE
July 30, 2021, 11:00 AM

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

Speaking to BBC's "The YUNGBLUD Podcast," the "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l" singer opened up on the obstacles women -- especially those of color -- face in the rock scene.

"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 expressed.

She then shared what one of her goals is in her own career.

"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!" she said.

Agreeing that rock music embodies the spirit of rebellion and freedom, Smith 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."

Willow Smith performs ini Los Angeles, Dec. 19, 2019.
Rich Fury/Getty Images, FILE

"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," she explained. "She was the grandmother of rock and roll and a lot of people don't know about her!"

Noting 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 -- Smith remarked, "We can't leave those people out!"

Smith also recently discussed the "intense racism" she says she saw her mother experience while on tour with her band, Wicked Wisdom. Read more about her reflection of her mother's time in the band here.