Willow Smith Criticizes Cancel Culture: ‘Shaming Doesn’t Lead to Learning’

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Listen to Willow Smith’s thoughts on cancel culture.

During the Juneteenth episode of Red Table Talk, a trending talk show starring Willow Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Willow Smith expressed her disapproval of “cancel culture,” or callout culture.  She describes this online, public shaming trend as being rooted in savagery and questionable ethics.  It breeds humiliation and a reluctance to speak out for fear of reprisal.  Willow commented: “I’m seeing people shaming others, like saying really terrible things. Shaming people for what they are choosing to say or shaming people for not saying anything at all,” she said. “I feel like if we really want change, shaming doesn’t lead to learning.”


This American singer refuses to jump on the bandwagon and endorse cancel culture. Instead, Willow beats the drum for compassion and patience. She encourages her peers to engage in a civil, constructive, and fruitful dialogue regarding Black Lives Matter and other social justice themes.  She warns that pithy, pointed tweets or social media posts calling out others undermines the central objective of erasing this culture of contempt and teaching acceptance and tolerance.

Fans were quick to voice their support for the singer’s candid words.

Fans echo her perception of cancel culture as counter-productive and problematic.


Willow disapproves of social media trolls who attack high-profile figures for their continued public action and articulation of Black Lives Matter. Many celebrities who come forward and publicly proclaim their ally status are censured by social media trolls. Their words are vindictively dissected, maliciously twisted, and dismissed as disingenuous. Likewise, passive individuals who decide to remain silent are denounced for shrugging off injustice. These celebrities are going to have to face the music either way; there is no winning. Willow argues that if we, as a society, hope to pursue real, meaningful change, attain racial equity, then we need to create a safe space for discussion and nurture learning and growth.

We are singing Willow’s praises after hearing the artist’s stance on cancel culture. In this time of heightened uncertainty, anxiety, and agony, it is more essential than ever to unite and lift each other up. We cannot afford to tear each other down as it distracts from our main mission: racial equality.