Normani Talks Self-Love and Owning Her Identity While Making Pop Music

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Normani shook the world up with the music video of her song “Motivation,” the newest single from her highly anticipated debut album. The footage showed off her dance moves and paid homage to pop culture moments and superstars such as Ashanti, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé. The video has earned over 65 million views, and many viewers have deemed it the video that revived the pop culture. Cosmopolitan interviewed the bubbling popstar for their December issue and talked self-love and owning her Identity. 

The former Fifth Harmony member popped on the scene and almost instantly had everyone asking, “Who is this?” Normani says that this type of reaction was typical, being as though she grew up shy and timid and spent a majority of her life hiding. “I remember always being asked, ‘Why do you wanna be in a girl group? So you can hide? And that’s exactly what I was trying to do.” As the stardom of Fifth Harmony grew, Normani started to realize that singing lead was something she needed to do. Frustration seeped in when the opportunity never presented itself in the group, “I’m not sure what that turning point was,” she says, “but I was like, Normani is enough. You can be on stage and perform, and you can be enough.”

After the breakup of Fifth Harmony, Normani hustled hard to deliver positive, uplifting music with addictive dance moves like her idols use to do. The harder she worked, the more it overshadowed her shyness, and more people were starting to listen. The attention made Normani get louder and more comfortable with her identity; a black girl who makes pop music, “I told the director, ‘I want this to be as black as possible’” she says, referring to the visuals of her Motivation music video. “I was like, let’s show black culture. Why does pop music have to be so white? Why don’t we make it a little bit more me?”

Normani is out to finish what the legends before her had started in a more authentic way she feels wouldn’t be possible in a group. “You’ll know that I’m a black girl, even if it’s on the quote-unquote whitest record ever. You’ll hear me more when I’m dancing than if we’re sitting here having a conversation. You’ll be able to see me.”