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Willow Smith thanks parents Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as she follows in their footsteps with new venture

The "Transparent Soul" singer has released her debut novel, Black Shield Maiden

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
May 8, 2024
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Willow Smith is now officially a published author! The acclaimed musician, the youngest in the illustrious Smith family, has finally released her debut novel.

The 23-year-old follows in the footsteps of her parents Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, both of whom have released memoirs titled Will and Worthy respectively, although Willow charts a whole new path.

She's officially the first in the family, however, to write a fictional tale and publish it, with her new book, Black Shield Maiden, officially available for sale starting May 7.

Fresh off her appearance at the Met Gala with brother Jaden Smith, Willow led a passionate and intimate book talk at the Strand Book Store in NYC, which HELLO! attended.

During her appearance, she spoke of finding inspiration for her novel, which explores two key characters, Yafeu from a Ghānaian empire and Freydis from a Northern Viking kingdom, in historical texts and anthropology.

In the foreword to her novel, she wrote about being inspired to do some research into the history of Viking culture after developing a fascination through various other media, but realized that not much existed on the history of Black and brown people interacting with Vikings.

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"Could there have been such a thing as a Black Viking?" she mused, recalling the difficult road to uncovering their history, which is when she shared a nod to her famous parents for their cultural resources.

MORE: Willow Smith rocks tiny sequin bra for celebratory night out

"I want to explicitly thank my parents for having so many informative books on the subject when I literally couldn't find them anywhere else," she wrote.

willow smith acne studios paris fashion week 2024© Getty Images
The star has finally released her debut novel, "Black Shield Maiden"

Near the end of the talk, however, Willow and her co-author Jess Hendel also teased that there might be more to come from their partnership and the story of Yafeu and Freydis, alluding to the fact that the book might evolve into a trilogy.

MORE: Willow Smith commands attention as she displays huge tattoos and piercings in close-up selfie

"These characters definitely have a lot more growing up to do, that's for sure. They have a lot more learning to do together, and separately," she shared, to which Jess added: "I said to Willow, I think book two's gonna be our 'Empire Strikes Back'."

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
She also thanked her parents for providing her with the resources to conduct her research

They called it the "first act" for their characters, and when author and moderator Temi Adeyemi questioned if that could manifest into a trilogy, they both excitedly answered that it very well could. "I wanna be mysterious, but…," Willow joked.

MORE: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith come together to support 'inspiring' daughter Willow's momentous news

Jada excitedly took to social media to promote the new release, saying on Instagram: "Willow's new novel Black Shield Maiden is NOW AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE!!! Her book is incredible! I couldn't put it down!" Her grandmother Adrienne "Gammy" Banfield-Norris also added: "Me either!! It's soooo good! Sequel coming I hope!!"

Willow Smith attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City.© Getty Images
Willow also released her sixth studio album, "Empathogen," the weekend prior

It's a double release bonanza for Willow, though, as she also released her sixth studio album, Empathogen, on May 3, with the audience at the Strand celebrating her for holding the distinction of releasing a debut novel in the same week as an album of original music. The moderator and audience affectionately dubbed it "Willowing."

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