Willow Smith Spending 24 Hours in a Box for Anxiety Awareness

Willow Smith is getting ready to face her anxieties head on with a thought-provoking, bold and fully immersive performance art exhibit beginning Wednesday morning.

The co-host of “Red Table Talk” will spend 24 hours inside of a box where she will process through eight different emotional states alongside collaborator Tyler Cole, who also lives with severe anxiety. While she has struggled with anxiety since she was a little girl, the 19-year-old suggested to The Los Angeles Times that the shocking death of Kobe Bryant is at least part of her inspiration for the piece.

“We’re on this planet and anything could happen, like the thing that just happened with Kobe? That was really a knife in the heart,” she told the publication. “very moment is precious. And I think everyone has a fear of just not knowing what’s going to happen in the future, not knowing if you’re on the right path, not knowing if you’re making the right choices.”

Another inspiration is the completion of Smith and Cole’s album, “The Anxiety,” which will be released immediately following the exhibit’s presentation. “We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be so interesting if we could personify this experience? Starting from being scared and feeling alone and moving to a place of acceptance and joy,” Smith said.

As part of the living art installation, Smith and Cole will process their way through paranoia, rage, sadness, numbness, euphoria, strong interest, compassion and acceptance. The intended goal is to spend three hours on each.

The box they are in has one glass wall, for visitors to witness their project, while the other three walls are made of canvas for writing or drawing. And while they intend not to speak, Smith did admit, “We might grunt or scream — it’s going to be very primal.”

For fans unable to attend the event live — where they will be allowed to watch in 15 minute intervals, there will be a live feed both in an adjacent room and online. Smith is adamant that this is to raise awareness and that it’s “for a cause.” The adjoining room to the exhibit, aside from having that live video feed, will also feature books and places for donations to various mental health organizations.

Smith also makes it clear that this is about expressing how they deal with anxiety, acknowledging that others have very different experiences. She also acknowledges that some people won’t get it or simply won’t like it, and that’s perfectly fine, too.

“I’m doing this because I’m inspired by this idea and I see that anxiety around me is an epidemic and people don’t talk about it,” she explained. “And so as long as it’s bringing awareness and a positive light to the darkness, it doesn’t matter if you don’t enjoy it.”

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