This year, Fuse has been celebrating an extended Black History Month by highlighting a variety of rising forces who are creating history before our very eyes. And 15-year-old Willow Smith is more or less the definition of "the future."
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's daughter dropped her first single in 2010, days before her 10th birthday. "Whip My Hair" had us spraining our necks and wondering if the new Rihanna was upon us, although such a simple interpretation would soon become impossible. Willow put out two more radio-ready singles in the following year—"21st Century Girl" and the Nicki Minaj–featuring "Fireball"—before veering abruptly off the pop star path.
Willow exited her starring role in the Jay Z–produced Annie remake and started living the quieter life of an internet-fluent pre-teen, one with a penchant for mystery and esoterica. Her Tumblr handle is ketsuktiam; her Instagram is gweelos; her Soundcloud, dhatu. The latter has been her steadiest musical outlet; for every song that's made itself known to the world at large (those first three singles and 2012's "I Am Me," namely), a dozen others have appeared on Willow's Soundcloud. She's become a producer, she's formed a crew of like-minded artists interested in pushing the boundaries of consciousness, perception and sonics. And she's done a lot of it with her brother Jaden, now 17.
Watch Willow's appearance on SKEE TV:
As the child of two of the most famous people in the world, Willow could be starring in high-profile movies and making music with the biggest names in the world. But read any consciousness-expanding interview, or listen to her surprise-released debut album, December 2015's Ardipithecus, and you'll know she's just not interested. Willow is making art exactly the way she wants to, exactly the way it makes sense to her. We just have to keep up.