On ‘Red Table Talk,’ Willow Smith joined a conversation about colorism and its harmful effects on people of color. This led the singer to reveal her old insecurities about her natural hair.
Willow Smith, 19, initially struggled with accepting her natural and beautiful hair, which the “Wait a Minute!” singer admitted on the May 27 episode of the Red Table Talk. The subject of hair came about as Willow, along with her mom Jada Pinkett Smith, grandma Adrienne Banfield Norris, and family friends Mia and Madison, discussed colorism, which was the subject of Wednesday’s show on the Facebook Watch series. This is the “discrimination or prejudice based on skin tone, from members of the same race,” according to the definition that played at the beginning of the show.
In a country that has long celebrated westernized beauty standards (which have caused discrimination in schools and workplaces for people of color), Willow admitted, “One of the issues for me growing up was my hair.” She confessed “it was always a struggle” and added, “I would look at her [my cousin] hair and be like ‘I would be so much prettier if my hair wasn’t so kinky…[or if] ‘I had long hair.'”
Pointing out why Willow could’ve felt this way growing up, her mom said, “The approximation to white is what is valued around the world, it’s global.” However, Willow now happily embraces her natural hair, which she proudly wore on the show (this episode was filmed before Willow shaved her head, and prior to quarantining). Cutting off all her hair was a symbolic act for Willow.
Willow’s boyfriend and music partner Tyler Cole, 21, shaved her hair during their 24-hour exhibit called “The Anxiety” at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles on March 12. “I felt like I was just shedding a lot of just history and emotional baggage. Six, 7, years of emotions, I just let it all go,” Willow explained on the March 25 episode of Red Table Talk, since the buzzcut was also a tribute to the theme of the exhibit. Her parents Jada and Will Smith love the makeover just as much as she does.
“Both of Willow’s parents have been extremely supportive, they are proud of her,” a source close to Jada and Will EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife in March. “The first time she shaved her head she was 11 and her dad was very shocked. This time he was super chill about it and so supportive. And her mom is thrilled. She’s Willow’s biggest cheerleader.”