Willow Smith (born October 31, 2000), also known mononymously as Willow, is an American singer. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, she has received various accolades, including a Young Artist Award, an NAACP Image Award, a BET Award, and nominations for two Daytime Emmy Awards and a MTV Video Music Award.

Willow Smith
Smith performing in 2015
Born (2000-10-31) October 31, 2000 (age 23)
EducationSierra Canyon School
  • Singer
  • actress
Years active2007–present
RelativesJaden Smith (brother)
Musical career
Member ofThe Anxiety

Smith made her acting debut in the 2007 film I Am Legend alongside her father, and later appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl with Abigail Breslin. She embarked on a musical career with her 2010 single "Whip My Hair", which peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Prior, Smith signed with her mentor, Jay-Z's record label Roc Nation, becoming the label's youngest artist. The following year, she released the singles "21st Century Girl" and "Fireball" (featuring Nicki Minaj).

Smith's debut studio album, Ardipithecus (2015) explored neo soul. It spawned the single "Wait a Minute!", which received double platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her second and third albums, The 1st (2017) and Willow (2019) followed after and were both met with positive reception. Her fourth album, Lately I Feel Everything (2021), marked her first entry on the Billboard 200 and spawned the single "Transparent Soul", which received gold certification by the RIAA. Later that year, she earned her second top 40 entry on the Billboard Hot 100 with her single "Meet Me at Our Spot", which she released as part of the duo The Anxiety with Tyler Cole. Smith's fifth album, Coping Mechanism (2022) marked her final release with Roc Nation, after which she signed with Gamma to release her sixth album, Empathogen (2024).

In 2018, Smith began co-hosting the Facebook Watch talk show Red Table Talk with her mother Jada and grandmother Adrienne, which has earned two Daytime Emmy Award nominations.

Early life


Smith was born on October 31, 2000, in Los Angeles, California.[5][6] She is the daughter of the actress-musician Jada Pinkett Smith and actor-musician Will Smith. She has two older siblings: her brother Jaden Smith, an actor and musician, and her half-brother Willard Carroll "Trey" Smith III, an actor and DJ. Smith and her siblings are youth ambassadors for Project Zambi, which, in conjunction with Hasbro,[7][8] provides assistance for Zambian children orphaned by AIDS.

Smith attended Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles.[9]



2007–2013: Acting and music endeavors


Smith made her acting debut in I Am Legend alongside her father.[10] Her next film, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,[11] was released on July 2, 2008. In 2008, she voiced the character of young Gloria the hippo in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, alongside her mother as Gloria the hippo.

In June 2009, Smith's mother Jada Pinkett Smith announced in an interview on Lopez Tonight that Smith would be releasing an album. Smith then released her first single, "Whip My Hair", which went platinum in the US and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, the single peaked at number two. Its video was nominated for Video of the Year at the BET Awards of 2011.[12] Smith soon after announced her next single, "21st Century Girl". After she performed the song on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she released it the next day on February 3, 2011. The video was released March 9, 2011. On January 20, 2011, Will Smith announced he was planning to produce a contemporary remake of the Broadway musical Annie starring Smith in the title role.[13] However, Smith was deemed too old and the title role was given to Quvenzhané Wallis in February 2013.[14]

On October 6, 2011, "Fireball", a collaboration between Smith and rapper Nicki Minaj, was released. "Fireball" was a commercial failure, failing to chart in any type of music market, except the US R&B chart, charting at 121. It was her first song to miss the Billboard Hot 100. Smith's producer announced that she were almost finished working on her debut album, and that it would be done soon. He also said it has a similar style to "Whip My Hair". The title of the album was later announced to be Knees and Elbows.[15] It was scheduled to be released around April 2012, but was later announced that it would be postponed for release later in the year. On May 1, 2012, she released a music video for "Do it Like Me (Rockstar)",[16] saying that it was her "first video ever".[16] On July 2, 2012, Smith released the "I Am Me" music video at the BET Awards. On July 17, she released her fourth single, "I Am Me" via iTunes and Amazon.

In the summer of 2013, Smith and DJ Fabrega started a duo titled "Melodic Chaotic". "The Intro" was released as the first work, "Summer Fling" was released as the second work of the two on July 6, 2013. The music video was directed by Smith and Mike Vargas who previously directed her single "I Am Me". The song has been widely criticized for its mature tone, the use of the word "fling", and the fake English accent she incorporates.[17][18][19] On September 16, 2013, Smith performed "Summer Fling" on the series premiere of The Queen Latifah Show. During the performance, she said: "Just for clarity, the word fling means something that's short lived...And this song is dedicated to all the kids around the world whose summer is never long enough."[20]

2014–2018: 3 EP, Ardipithecus, and The 1st


On October 24, 2014, Smith and FADER announced that Smith would be releasing her debut EP, titled "3", on October 31, 2014, for free via Google Play for limited time and November 10, 2014, but it was later pushed to November 17, 2014, via iTunes. The same day, she held a concert in New York City at The FADER Fort, where she performed select tracks from her new EP with SZA. She also performed the song "5" with her brother, as well as "Summer Fling" and a new rendition of her famous hit "Whip My Hair".

Smith released the single "F Q-C #7" on May 7, 2015.[21] An accompanying music video was released the same day on Vevo.[22] After release, on September, a video to the track "Why Don't You Cry" on i-D,[23] Willow released her first album Ardipithecus on December 11.[24] About her debut album's title, Willow said "Ardipithecus Ramidus [sic] Sahelanthropus tchadensis is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because, while I was making these songs, I was in such a transitional state. Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories, which end up being the lyrics to the songs."[25]

On her birthday, October 31, 2017, she released her second album The 1st which is praised for its musical development, particularly Willow's ability to create music following her 1990s R&B predecessors, despite not having been alive during the time.[26] She toured the album with Jhene Aiko alongside St. Beauty, Kodie Shane, and Kitty Cash through the end of 2017.[27]

Along with her mother and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Smith hosts Red Table Talk, a web talk show for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination.[28][29]

2019–2021: Willow, The Anxiety, and Lately I Feel Everything


Willow was managed by Will Smith's management company, Westbrook Entertainment, until March 2019 when Three Six Zero, an established management firm acquired Westbrook.[30] Following the acquisition. On June 24, 2019, Smith announced her third studio album, Willow. It was released on July 19, 2019, and was co-produced by herself and Tyler Cole.[31] The duo later released a collaborative album titled The Anxiety in 2020. On April 27, 2021, Smith released "Transparent Soul" featuring Travis Barker, a pop-punk song that was her first foray into that genre.[32][33] Smith released her fourth album Lately I Feel Everything on July 16, featuring guests artists including Tierra Whack and Avril Lavigne.[34] In late 2021, "Meet Me at Our Spot" from The Anxiety reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 21.[35] That same year, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[36] Also in 2021, she won Entertainer of the Year for her work on Red Table Talk at the EBONY Power 100 awards,[37] and was placed on Billboard's 'Greatest Pop Stars of 2021' list, being named the 'Comeback Artist of the Year'.[38] Smith was also placed on the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.[39]

2022–present: Coping Mechanism, Empathogen


In February 2022, a preview from Willow Smith's book Black Shield Maiden, co-written with Jess Hendel and set to be published through Penguin Random House, was shared on social media and criticized by users for depicting the Amazigh, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa, as "thieves and slavers."[40] Others have also critiqued the book for adopting a colonialist view of Muslim people.[41] Critics and users have condemned Smith for the use of harmful racist as well as Islamophobic stereotypes in her novel, and have labelled the book as being orientalist.[40][41]

In February 2022, Smith pulled out of Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The World Tour due to production limitations.[42] On April 8, 2022, Smith featured on Camila Cabello's track "Psychofreak" from Cabello's third studio album Familia. A music video for the song was released on the same day,[43] followed by a live performance on Saturday Night Live.[44]

Coping Mechanism is the fifth studio album by Smith. The album was released on October 7, 2022, through Roc Nation and Polydor, and features Yves Tumor.[45]

In June 2022, Smith released "Maybe It's My Fault", the first single from her fifth studio album.[46]

In July 2022, Smith published the album art as well as the release date for the album. The following month, the singer put out "Hover Like a Goddess".[47]

On October 2022, Smith made her official musical guest debut on Saturday Night Live on October 8, 2022, the second episode of Season 48, hosted by Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, where she performed "Curious/Furious" and "Ur a Stranger".

Her first single since Coping Mechanism, "Alone", was released on November 2023. Her next single, “Symptom of Life”, was released in March 2024, followed by "Big Feelings" in April. The same day as the single’s release, Smith announced her sixth studio album Empathogen, which was released May 4, 2024.[48]

Personal life


In May 2014, Moisés Arias, who was 20 at the time, was photographed shirtless in a bed with then-13-year-old Smith.[49] The photo triggered an investigation into the family by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.[50]

In June 2019, Smith revealed that she is bisexual, stating: "I love men and women equally". She also mentioned her support of polyamorous relationships and her desire to be in one.[51] She is a practicing Hindu and has been actively seen following ISKCON, which follows the doctrine of Gaudiya Vaishnavism with a tradition which believes Krishna as the Supreme Lord.[52]



Collaborative albums


Year Title Role Notes
2007 I Am Legend Marley Neville[54][55]
2008 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Countee Garby
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Baby Gloria (voice)
2009 Merry Madagascar Abby (voice) TV movie
2009–2010 True Jackson, VP Young True[56] 2 episodes
2017 Neo Yokio Helenist (voice) Episode: "O, the Helenists"
2018 Adventure Time Beth the Pup Princess (voice) Episode: "Come Along with Me"
2018–2023 Red Table Talk Herself Co-host; 37 episodes
2021 A Man Named Scott Herself
2022 We Baby Bears Unica (voice) Recurring: Season 1 and 2
Saturday Night Live Herself; musical guest 2 episodes: "Jake Gyllenhaal/Camila Cabello", "Brendan Gleeson/Willow"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Results Ref.
2008 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film (Young Actress Age Ten or Younger) I Am Legend Nominated [citation needed]
2009 Best Performance in a Feature Film (Young Ensemble Cast) Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Won
2010 Annie Award Voice Acting in a Television Production Merry Madagascar Nominated
2011 VirtuaMagazine Awards Best New Artist Herself Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding New Artist Won [57]
Outstanding Music Video "Whip My Hair" Nominated
O Music Awards Most Viral Video Won [citation needed]
BET Awards Video of the Year Nominated
Best New Artist Nominated
YoungStar Award Herself (tied with Jaden Smith) Won
2012 Herself Nominated
MP3 Music Awards The BTM Award "Fireball" (featuring Nicki Minaj) Nominated
2013 "I Am Me" Won
2014 VEVOCertifiedAwards 100,000,000 views "Whip My Hair" Won
2016 The 2016 Fashion Awards New Fashion Icons Herself (tied with Jaden Smith) Won
2020 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host Red Table Talk Nominated [29]
Queerty Awards Closet Door Bustdown Herself Nominated [58]
2021 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host Red Table Talk Nominated [59]
British LGBT Awards Celebrity Herself Nominated [60]
MTV Video Music Awards Best Alternative Video "Transparent Soul" (featuring Travis Barker) Nominated [61]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Alternative "Transparent Soul" (featuring Travis Barker) Nominated
2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards Best New Alternative Artist Herself Nominated [62]
MTV Video Music Awards Best Alternative Video "Emo Girl" Nominated [63]
"Grow" Nominated


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