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Willow Smith, Will and Jada’s daughter, says nepo baby ‘insecurity has driven me harder’

Alexandra Del Rosario – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Willow Smith has such big feelings about her music career — and perceptions that she’s a nepo baby riding on her Oscar and Daytime Emmy winning parents’ coattails.

The 23-year-old singer, whose parents are “King Richard” star Will Smith and “Red Table Talk” host Jada Pinkett Smith, revealed in a recent interview that the “nepo baby” label — used to describe kids of famous people who pursue similar careers — continues to motivate her to create her own path with music.

“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,” she told Allure in a cover story published Thursday.

She added: “That has driven me to work really hard to try to prove them wrong. But nowadays, I don’t need to prove s— to anybody.'”

The “Wait a Minute!” and “Meet Me at Our Spot” musician — who performs under the moniker Willow — spoke to the magazine about the evolution of her looks and music before the release of her newest album. “Empathogen” was released Friday, 14 years after Willow broke into music with her hit “Whip My Hair.”

The 2010 pop song further thrust Willow, then 9-years-old, into a world of celebrity and publicity. Years later, Willow experienced a period of negativity and self-doubt, some rooted in her high-profile family, she told the magazine.

After sharing how she came to terms with her hangups and “negativity from the outside,” Willow said she has several reasons why she doesn’t feel she is the typical “nepo baby.” She believes she would “still be a weird and a crazy thinker” if her parents weren’t celebrities.

Willow added that, despite her parents’ fame, she still faces hurdles and gatekeepers in the creative space.

“Being Black in America, even with privilege, which I’m never going to deny that I have, you’re still Black,” she said.

Since “Whip My Hair,” several of Willow’s other hits, including “Emo Girl” and “Meet Me at Our Spot,” have cracked Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. She also has received several MTV Video Music Awards nominations. Earlier this week, Willow appeared on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” series, offering funky, stripped-down performance of songs “symptom of life,” Wait a Minute!” and “big feelings.”

Whether critics and fans deem her a nepo baby, Willow told Allure that she wants “to be a servant of love even if that means fighting for things to change so that love can bloom more in the world.”

She added: “I want it to change how [people] think, and I want it to make them love themselves more.”

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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