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Willow Smith opens up about 'insecurity' being Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's daughter, being called a nepo baby

Willow's brother, Jaden Smith, is a musician as well

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
May 2, 2024
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For over a decade, Willow Smith has been in the spotlight as a musician, from the teeny-bopper sensation that was "Whip My Hair," to her matured and emotive latest single, "Big Feelings."

On the heels of her upcoming new album Empathogens, the 23-year-old sat down for a conversation with Allure about all things beauty, career, and life, and broke down her pursuit for space in the industry.

As the daughter of global stars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, the music has always been in Willow's blood, but she has also had to face being branded a "nepo baby."

When asked about it during her interview, however, she explained why she doesn't believe she fit that mold, acknowledging the opportunities she'd received thanks to her last name, while stating that it was probably because of her family legacy that she pushed herself to work harder and make her own mark.

"I truly believe that my spirit is a strong spirit and that, even if my parents weren't who they were, I would still be a weirdo and a crazy thinker," she shared. 

"I definitely think that a little bit of insecurity has driven me harder because people do think that the only reason I'm successful is because of my parents. That has driven me to work really hard to try to prove them wrong. But nowadays, I don't need to prove [expletive] to anybody."

Willow Smith performs at The Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. Live at Nokia Plaza on December 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
Willow has been a performer since she was a pre-teen, making her musical debut at nine years old

She further opened up about feeling out of place, despite her privilege, due to being a Black person in America, elaborating on still feeling like she was out of place in certain situations. 

MORE: Jada Pinkett Smith shares glimpse of meaningful trip across the world with daughter Willow

"There have been some experiences where I went into a place that I have worked in the past and my picture could even be up on the wall, and they treat me like, 'This is a little bit out of your price range' or 'You don't really belong here.'" 

Trey, Jaden, Will, Jada Pinkett, and Willow Smith together at Coachella 2024© Instagram
She opened up about the privilege of being a member of the Smith family

Willow continued: "Being Black in America, even with privilege, which I'm never going to deny that I have, you're still Black. And I love being Black." 

MORE: Willow Smith shares revealing details about her sexuality in very honest post

"People would look at me and [say], 'Okay, well, her parents are this and this and that, but she still is like me. She still has brown skin.' And we all know that that doesn't exempt you from anything, and that's a place of connection."

Photo shared by Jada Pinkett-Smith on Instagram August 2023 posing by the beach with her husband Will Smith, stepson Trey Smith, and kids Jaden and Willow Smith© Instagram
"I definitely think that a little bit of insecurity has driven me harder because people do think that the only reason I'm successful is because of my parents."

The "Meet Me At Our Spot" singer did reveal, though, that while she developed an interest in being a musician at a very early age (releasing "Whip My Hair" when she was only nine years old), her parents were reluctant to make that move at first.

MORE: Will Smith celebrates major family 'first' for daughter Willow Smith

"As a young kid, I'm up on my cloud. I thought they were being such Debbie Downers," she recalled of the moment she told them she wanted to be a musician.

trey smith willow smith jaden smith will smith jada pinkett smith premiere emancipation 2022© Getty Images
She revealed that her parents were reluctant about her entering the entertainment industry at first

"They're acting so serious. They were like, 'Okay, we just want you to know that if you really want to sing, this is not going to be easy.' And I [thought], 'What? It was so easy. I just made a song.' Little did I know that the [expletive] is a deep lineage, that when you add to that lineage, you must come correct."

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