Normani is opening up about the racism she has experienced while with her former group, Fifth Harmony.
In an interview with Billboard, the 22-year-old singer recalled bringing brought to tears in studio sessions by the way she was treated. For example, Normani said she was the only member of the popular girl group who was forced to sing background vocals.
“It was a subconscious thing,” Normani said about the effect the treatment had on her. “You think, ‘Why am I the least-followed in the group?’ Even if you don’t recognize that you’re paying close attention to it, it takes a toll on your confidence. You worry is it me? Is it because I’m Black? Or am I just not talented?”
Normani’s struggles were made more difficult by not being able to relate to her fellow group mates.
“They tried to be there for me as best as they could,” she explained. “But I don’t think they had the tools that they needed because it’s not their experience.”
“I can give them credit for trying to be there for me, but at the same time,” Normani added, “the girls don’t experience things the way I did.”
Although Normani did not reveal the release date of her highly anticipated debut album, she did acknowledge the pressure she feels to succeed.
“There’s a responsibility I have as a Black woman — one of the very few — to have the power to kill it,” she stated. “Even in the mainstream, there’s not many of us — especially chocolate girls. Like, being African-American is one thing, but girls [with] my complexion. It’s unheard of. It’s me, and SZA. Who else?”
While fans wait patiently for Normani’s album, they can at least enjoy her new ’80s-inspired duet with Sam Smith, “Dancing With A Stranger.”