Normani Gets Candid About Wanting To Rep For Young Black Women

By Hayden Brooks

January 10, 2019

We're less than 24 hours away from her anticipated team-up with Sam Smith, but Normani's new Billboard cover story has arrived to hold us over and it sees the former Fifth Harmony singer get candid about her responsibility as a black woman in mainstream music. 

"There's so much that I have to get off my chest," the 22-year-old singer told the magazine. "And there’s a responsibility I have as a black woman -- one of the very few to have the power to kill it. 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?"

Normani's pursuit to rep for young black women is one that exists far beyond her career in Hollywood. Elsewhere in the interview, she revealed that she was one of just three black students in her predominately white elementary school.  "It was a ­subconscious thing," she revealed. "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?"

It eventually caused a moment of tension for her when she received death threats after Camila Cabello fans thought the singer dissed her in a Facebook Live interview in 2016. "They tried to be there for me as best as they could," she said of her other bandmates. "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...The girls don't experience things the way I did."

Photo: Getty Images

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