“She may very well be from a distant planet, a foreign place where women are homegrown superheroes, nurtured to become goddesses; a land where girls are taught to own their power from birth so that by 15 they possess the kind of delightfully off-kilter creativity that marked Warhol-era greats.”
Willow Smith is not unfamiliar with being seen as different, weird and at times alien. Daughter of actors Will and Jada Smith; since stepping into the spotlight in 2010 with her hit-single “Whip My Hair”, the 15 year-old teen and her brother have both vexed and confused the public with their unconventional lifestyle and unsettling maturity.
Willow’s debut album, Ardipithecus, released late last year illustrates her perchant for deviating from the norm. Stylistically different from her hair-tossing anthem, Ardipithecus is alternative music and named after the first hominid bones found on the earth. The first track off the album “Organization & Classification” echos Willow’s distaste for labels. Stating simply classification and organization is ruining the minds…hearts…souls of our generation.
While the album received mixed reviews from critics, Willow’s other-worldly talent for succeeding by simply being herself led to her appointment as the newest ambassador for Chanel in March.
“Being a young African-American woman with dreads, it blows my mind that I’m a Chanel ambassador… I’m coming into a new part of my life that is completely unknown, and I’m jumping right in. All I can do from here is continue to shift paradigms and continue to push the envelope further and further. But I am doing it every day just by being myself.”
With such maturity and confidence it’s difficult to think she wasn’t always so. Speaking with Teen Vogue, Willow talked about her struggle with finding herself and dealing with the publicity at such a young age.
“After ‘Whip My Hair’ and all the publicity, after going on tour in the U.K., after saying no to the Annie film, all of this crap was going on in my life, and I had to sit down and say, ‘Who are you? On a real note. Are you this or this?’”
“During that time of figuring it out, I was lost and super insecure. But then I stopped trying to find myself in these other inanimate objects, people, and ideas. I realized it isn’t about finding yourself—it’s about creating yourself.”
Tip the Writer
Highlighting the journey of Black women as they create spaces and elevate Black culture.