Willow Smith has admitted that she and her brother Jaden felt “shunned” by the African American community because they were “too different.”
The 19-year-old singer made the admission during the Oct. 13 episode of “Red Table Talk”.
Both Willow and Jaden are known for their bold sense of style and defiance of gender norms.
Willow said, “Specifically with the African American community, I kind of felt like me and Jaden were shunned a little bit. ‘We’re not gonna take pride in them because they’re too different. They’re too weird.'”
She added: “Even some of our family members, I would feel they thought, ‘You’re too different.'”
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Willow and Jaden’s mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, recalled her own personal experiences of being shamed for her parenting.
Jada explained, “I have had my fair share of mom shaming. With Willow, I think the first time I got hardcore criticism, when you first cut your hair, there was a firestorm.”
The mom of two told how she was hit with backlash for the first time after Willow shaved her head following the release of her hugely successful single, “Whip My Hair”.
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She said, “Looking at how my children were being affected, that’s what counts. When people are like, ‘I can’t believe you shaved Willow’s head,’ if they could have seen this child’s expression of freedom, looking at her hair falling to the ground.”
Continuing, “Me as a mom looking at that, experiencing that with her, there’s nothing anyone could say to me to tell me that it was wrong. Not one person, because I was there, I was looking at her, I saw her face, I knew the journey she and I took together to get to that point. It didn’t matter what anybody said.”
Smith also experienced shaming for choosing to homeschool Willow and Jaden.
She went on, “I would have gotten shamed for leaving you here and not being with you. They weren’t raised typically and I think, especially for our community, it was something new.”
Revealing the nasty remarks that people would say to her during events, Willow recalled, “It was always like, ‘It’s not your fault, your mother should have taught you better, it’s not your fault you’re crazy.'”
Meanwhile, Jada admitted that she received “hardcore” shaming because of Jaden’s individualistic sense of style.
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She added, “I think as Jaden got older, when he did the Louis Vuitton thing, he’s wearing a skirt and then he isn’t what people consider your typical Black man, what’s that supposed to mean? It’s something we as a community need to learn to let go of. I know people felt like it’s dangerous, you are doing your kids a disservice. I knew that self confidence is what helped me to survive.”“Red Table Talk” airs exclusively on Facebook Watch.