Willow Smith Slammed for ‘Islamophobic’ Depiction of Amazigh People in Debut Novel, ‘Black Shield Maiden’

by Yah Yah

Willow Smith’s debut novel, “Black Shield Maiden,” has not yet been released, but the budding author is already facing backlash after excerpts from the book were released—and she’s being labeled “Islamophobic” for her efforts.

The book, co-authored with Jess Handel, centers on a defiant young African warrior named Yafeu, who was stolen from her home and brought to the world of the Vikings. She then encounters a shy princess named, Freydis, and inspires her to forge her own path and create her own destiny.

In an exclusive preview unveiled by publishing company Penguin, the snippet reads, “the Amazigh are dangerous on their best day. They have little regard for anyone who doesn’t worship the Muslim god — and even their own tribes are always at war with one another.”

The Amazigh people are Indigenous to North Africa and are sometimes referred to as Berbers. The Amazigh have spent decades fighting for cultural recognition in the predominantly-Arab region. The orthodox region of the Amazigh people is called “Tamazgha” in the Amazigh language. 

The Amazigh are still very much repressed.

And social media had a lot to say about Smith’s upcoming offering:

“I’d just like to know why Willow Smith is depending on such racist and Islamophobic stereotypes for her new book. It’s 2022. We are not playing into this bs still. We know better so we should be doing better,” one Twitter user wrote.

“first myriam fariss and now willow smith d zbi??? awili when will non north africans leave us alone??” wrote another.

“The co-author is a whyte woman and Willow Smith should be ashamed to be involved. I’m so tired of white supremacy’s enablers constructing a vision of African peoples that only serves whiteness,” somebody else remarked.

Willow has not yet responded to the backlash. Penguin Books released a small snippet of the book, so it’s possible that the snippet could have been taken out of context.

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