Willow on claiming space in rock: “All of us should be allowed freedom to express ourselves in different ways”

The star moved into the rock world with her 2021 album 'lately I feel EVERYTHING'

Willow Smith has spoken out about claiming space in rock in a new interview, saying that all people should “be allowed freedom to express ourselves in all kinds of different ways”.

The star, who will release her latest album ‘<COPINGMECHANISM>’ next month, shifted into the rock genre with her 2021 album ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’.

Smith has previously spoken out about the reaction to her wanting to make a rock record from music industry executives, citing her race as a Black woman as the reason behind their response.


“When I wanted to do a rock album, there were a lot of executives that were like, ‘Hmm…’,” she told Glamour earlier this year. “If I had been white, it would’ve been completely fine; but because I’m Black it’s, ‘Well… maybe let’s just not’ – and making it harder than it needs to be.”

Credit: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Speaking to the Observer recently, the 21-year-old described her claiming space in rock as a politically-charged move that is “about stepping into places where marginalised communities haven’t been accepted and saying: I’m human, and I’m allowed here, too”.

“All of us should be allowed freedom to express ourselves in all kinds of different ways, and one of those ways is rock music,” she said. “Music is not just music, it is also activism. Throughout history, music has driven some of the most intense shifts in humanity’s thought processes.”

Smith also referred to the history of rock, which has its roots in Black communities. “One of my favourite musicians, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was playing rock with an electric guitar in the 1940s,” she said.

“Blues was the birthplace of rock, but that history was put out of sight for social and political reasons. There are still many people who don’t want people of colour, women, people of the LGBTQ+ community to rise and know their history.”


Earlier this month, the artist shared another taste of her upcoming album in ‘curious/furious’. It followed the previous singles ‘<maybe> it’s my fault’ and ‘hover like a GODDESS’. ‘<COPINGMECHANISM>’ will be released on October 7.