Willow Smith came into her own with her 2010 debut single "Whip My Hair." The daughter of Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith was just 9 years old when she recorded the infectious R&B song, which encourages girls to whip their hair as they shake haters off.
Though "Whip My Hair" later grew to be a source of embarrassment for her, the singer, 20, told L'Officiel magazine she now embraces the song's important self-love message. "For so long, I wanted to condemn that time of my life and forget it, just kind of push it under the rug,” said Smith. “I really regretted it."
Since then, she's realized "Whip My Hair" fits right in — at least thematically — with the the pop-punk songs that appear on her upcoming album, "Lately I Feel Everything," available July 16.
“I realized that the content in my songs has always been centered around self-love and the universe and our humanity’s divine path, about expressing oneself and being unapologetic,” she explained. “I listened to ‘Whip My Hair’ not too long ago, after many years, and realized that it’s the same message. I’m not saying anything that’s against my values, and on top of that, I’m saying things that are in harmony with my values."
Smith continued, "I kind of just had a huge aha and was like, ‘Yo, don’t condemn this side of your life because it gave you a foundation and a platform and a fan base of so many loving individuals who have been by my side through this whole crazy, topsy-turvy journey that I’ve had."
"Now, I would never take it back," she added.
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Smith also opened up about what a dream come true it is for her, as a Black woman, to perform rock music.
The singer recalled touring with her mom's nu-metal band, Wicked Wisdom, for years as a child. Though Pinkett Smith, 49, sometimes faced intense racism as a Black woman fronting a hard rock band, she modeled for her daughter a powerful way to handle detractors.
“Obviously, she was scared," Smith said of observing Pinkett Smith on the road. "But she really showed me what 'womaning up' really was, by taking a stance and not being afraid of other people’s judgements and perceptions."
Though her own music is nowhere as pummeling as Wicked Wisdom — who recently reunited on an episode of Pinkett Smith's Facebook Watch talk show "Red Table Talk" — Smith said she's proud to be following in her mom's footsteps.
“I just wanted to fulfill that desire that I had ever since I was 10 or 12 of singing rock music, of being a Black woman singing rock music,” she said.