Willow Smith praises Billy Corgan for setting the precedent of “what rock star dudes can be”

The musician says Corgan’s unconventional image inspired more artists to reject gender norms.

Willow Smith on Billy Corgan

Corgan image: Theo Wargo/Getty
Smith image: Simone Joyner/Getty

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In a new interview on the Thirty-Three With William Patrick Corgan podcast, Willow Smith praised Billy Corgan for setting a positive example for musicians and challenging gender norms in the early days of his career.

On Tuesday (11 October), the pop-punk musician spoke with the Smashing Pumpkins frontman about the ever-changing rock scene, which both believe is now more accepting of unconventional musicians than ever.

It was here that she personally thanked the host for using his platform to take risks and challenge oppressive expectations in society.

“That rebellious nature [you showed], I want to thank you for doing that and for setting this beautiful precedent for what rock star dudes can be – they can be so many different things,” Smith says.

“So many people took that beautiful rebellious act and have done it [too]”, she adds, going on to share how this change in culture has spread to genres such as hip-hop. “[For example,] Kid Cudi wore a dress onstage; my own brother [Jaden Smith] wore a dress onstage.”

This discussion was sparked after Corgan opened up about the backlash he received in the past.

Elaborating on the hateful comments he has previously faced about his image, Corgan implies that audiences are often less accepting of those who question gender norms due to unspoken rules in ‘white society’.

“White society has a lot of codes,” he explains, referencing his time starting out as a musician. “[The Smashing Pumpkins] grew up in the ’70s and ’80s version of that. It was shocking to us – something as stupid as me wearing a dress onstage. People asked, ‘Oh, are you gay? What does this mean? What are you trying to say?’”

Willow Smith has often spoken out about her desire to make the rock and metal scene more accepting. In an interview with us, the guitarist admitted that she felt the scene was gatekept, and hoped that her latest album, <COPINGMECHANISM>, would help introduce a new demographic to the genre.


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