Willow Smith will turn 20 on Oct 31 but it’s fair to say that this singer/talk show host/model/performance artist has unlocked a fair share of achievements in her young lifetime ever since she popped on our radar for whipping her hair to the record books with her 2010 single Whip My Hair (that track made her the youngest artist in the US to snag a double platinum single, FYI).
Today, she’s starring in her biggest role yet: advocate and voice of her generation.
Besides bringing a inter-generational perspective to social and cultural issues via the Red Table Talk series which she co-hosts with her mum and grandmother on Facebook Watch, this scion of Jada and Will is also vocal about her personal struggles with mental health issues.
To raise the attention to the issue of anxiety and its different phases – paranoia, rage, sadness, numbness, euphoria, strong interest, compassion, and acceptance – she and fellow artist Tyler Cole staged a 24-hour performance art piece at the MOCA in March during the peak of social distancing. The event was timed to the release of her fourth LP The Anxiety.
“‘This is not so that people are like, ‘Oooh!’ This is for awareness,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The first thing we’re going to be writing on our title wall is something along the lines of: ‘The acceptance of one’s fears is the first step toward understanding.’ So then you know this is on something real.”
When it comes to her latest brand endorsement – that list spans brands from Maison Margiela to Chanel – it is only natural that French maison Cartier comes knocking when it was forming its collective of cultural trailblazers called the Pasha Community to coincide with the launch of its remodeled Pasha de Cartier timepiece.
Smith is one of the five young stars whom Cartier had pulled together from the world of entertainment. Others in the lineup include our Sept 2020 cover star Maisie Williams and queer pop idol Troye Sivan.
Perhaps Smith sums up the influence of youth succinctly in this exclusive video interview: “Being more connected, we feel things that maybe past generations couldn’t feel. We’re seeing things that other generations didn’t feel before.”