Willow Smith is ready to step into her next chapter. The starlet covers the November issue of SPIN, discussing her pop-star past as a 9-year-old hitmaker with her neo-classic single “Whip My Hair” – a chapter of her life which she describes as being very dark and confusing despite its bubble-gum brightness on the surface – to now, an artist fully in control of her own narrative.
In the article, photographed by Munachi Osegbu, the Red Table Talk star discusses stepping into her own, even if that means being perceived as a stereotypical “angry Black woman” as she expresses some of her messier emotions.
“If you look at history and you look at what the Black woman has had to endure, what other emotion are we going to have?” Smith asks. “We shouldn’t be afraid of that stereotype. We should be like, ‘Okay, yes, and, let me tell you why.’ There are 15 million reasons. I’m not just angry for nothing. I’m not just angry because nothing ever happens. I’m angry because there are hundreds and hundreds of years of really just unfair abuse and violation and violence. Even our own men turn on us. That also hurts. I think we need to come together and be more compassionate toward one another, Black women as well.”
The songstress is unleashing much of that anger and frustration on her newest album, <COPINGMECHANISM>, which centers on a particularly painful breakup she experienced with a recent girlfriend.
“I hate being messy but in order to heal something, you have to let it come up.”
Though she doesn’t get into naming names or detailing specifics, she says the project was instrumental in her healing and journey toward self-love and acceptance.
“The purge of who you were before,” she says of the project’s message. “You cocoon, then you come out as a butterfly. That sounds very cliché, but there’s really no other way I could say it. A caterpillar turning into a butterfly is primal…it’s natural…but it’s also magical. It can be both things at once. It can be messy. It can be uncomfortable. It can be scary. But it can also be beautiful, fantastic, and magical. It can be very earthly and also very spiritual, also very cosmic. I like to accept those dualities. With my songwriting, it’s just an expression of who I am. When you’re learning to love who you are, it’s all spiritual.”
Part of that spiritual journey has entailed Smith embracing sobriety in the meantime. Though she has never opened up about any use of alcohol or hard drugs, the songstress detailed stepping away from marijuana during the pandemic and appears to have remained on that journey while delving deeper into self and art.
“My problem is the extremes,” she shared with SPIN. “Once I start smoking, I’m smoking every day. I would love to be able to just do it casually. Not doing it at all is easy and doing it every day is easy, but the middle is not easy for me. It’s so weird. So I’m trying to figure out that middle ground. If I can’t figure out that middle ground, I think it’s best if I just stay sober.”
Read Willow Smith’s full cover story HERE. Check out some of the photos from her SPIN November issue spread below: