Willow Smith’s new project sees her shifting musical gears to get into the rock music game with none other than punk rock princess Avril Lavigne. The two women have teamed up on a new track and were photographed shooting an accompanying video for it in Los Angeles earlier this week.
Smith was looking every bit the pop-punk rocker, channeling both a teenage Lavigne and a No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani in neon green plaid pants, a studded belt, and white creepers. Avril also donned a pair of plaid pants and a black leather jacket for the shoot.
Earlier this month, Smith graced the cover of V, opening up to the magazine about her musical tastes and how she plans to make her mark in the pop-punk genre today and metal in the future.
"Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you," she said. "Now, it's like an added pressure of the metal culture, the metal world, and just rock in general. I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance," she explained, noting that it remains uncommon for Black (especially Black female) musicians to break through in that specific scene.
"Through the music that I'm putting out right now and the representation that I can bring to the mix, I just hope that the Black girls who are listening to my music and listening to this album see that there's more of us out there. It's a real thing, you're not alone. You're not the only Black girl who wishes she could flip her hair to the side, and wear black eyeliner, you know what I mean?" said Smith, whose mother, Jada Pinkett-Smith, played rock music with her band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s.
Willow’s new album drops this summer and features work not only with Lavigne but other big names in the pop-punk and metal scenes, too. The first single "Transparent Soul" has Blink-182’s Travis Barker on the drum kit and the inspiration for the album in its entirety comes from Alexis White’s band Straight Line Stitch. It’s Avril, however, who Smith calls her idol.
"I'm so excited that I'm going to be having a song on the album with Avril Lavigne. She is so iconic. From 13 to 16, she was my idol. It's really nice to be able to have a quintessential pop-punk record with the pop-punk queen.”
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