Normani recently got together with Rolling Stone for an interview to coincide with the magazine’s new “Women Shaping the Future” issue, of which she graces the cover alongside SZA and Megan Thee Stallion. During their conversation, the 23-year-old singer touched on dealing with racism as a member of American girl group, Fifth Harmony, including insensitive social media posts by former bandmate, Camila Cabello.
“I want to be very clear about what I’m going to say on this uncomfortable subject and figured it would be best to write out my thoughts to avoid being misconstrued, as I have been in the past,” she began in an email to the publication. “I struggled with talking about this because I didn’t want it to be a part of my narrative, but I am a black woman, who is a part of an entire generation that has a similar story.”
Normani then discussed derogatory comments from Fifth Harmony fans and the racist tweets and Tumblr posts by Cabello that were recently brought back to light. These posts featured anti-black remarks, some of which included the N-word.
“I face senseless attacks daily, as does the rest of my community. This represents a day in the life for us. I have been tolerating discrimination far before I could even comprehend what exactly was happening. Direct and subliminal hatred has been geared towards me for many years solely because of the color of my skin,” Normani stated.
“It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me. It was devastating that this came from a place that was supposed to be a safe haven and a sisterhood, because I knew that if the tables were turned I would defend each of them in a single heartbeat,” she added. “It took days for her to acknowledge what I was dealing with online and then years for her to take responsibility for the offensive tweets that recently resurfaced. Whether or not it was her intention, this made me feel like I was second to the relationship that she had with her fans.”
Cabello apologized for her racist comments after the posts resurfaced this past December, saying she was sorry for using “horrible and hurtful language.”
In continuing her statement to Rolling Stone, Normani concluded, “I don’t want to say that this situation leaves me hopeless because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for personal growth. I really hope that an important lesson was learned in this. I hope there is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable.”
“I have spoken what is in my heart and pray this is transparent enough that I never have to speak on it again. To my brown men and women, we are like no other. Our power lies within our culture. We are descendants of an endless line of strong and resilient kings and queens. We have been and will continue to win in all that we do simply because of who we are. We deserve to be celebrated, I deserve to be celebrated and I’m just getting started,” she proclaimed.
Visit Rolling Stone for more from Normani on dealing with racism.