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Normani Talks Camila Cabello, Racism, and Her Debut Album

Normani Talks Camila Cabello, Racism, and Her Debut Album

Normani Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 presented by Amazon Prime Vide – Step and Repeat

22-year-old Normani covers the latest issue of Billboard magazine and had quite a bit to say.

Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

Camila Cabello & Fifth Harmony

Normani reiterates that though they [Fifth Harmony] were genuinely very close, they speak infrequently now. There are still friendly, unavoidable run-ins, like her impromptu reunion with Camila Cabello before the 2018 Billboard Music Awards — which turned into an Instagram-ready moment of ­reconciliation and mutual admiration. Normani no longer pays attention to questions about who hates who, the same way she ignores questions about who will be most successful solo.

[irp posts=”4477″ name=”Sam Smith and Normani Confirm ‘Dancing With a Stranger Single”]

“Honestly? I’m in such an amazing place that I don’t feed into any of that,” she says, launching into a lengthy explanation that feels more like self-reassurance than anything else. “I’m way too blessed to even allow myself to focus on that. This is my time. Just like [Cabello] had an amazing run. I am so proud of everything that she’s doing. She’s nominated for a freaking Grammy! Like, that is amazing. And all from what girl group? Fifth Harmony. Like, that shit’s fire. And I know that all of us are more than capable of doing that.” She pauses, then revises the sentiment a bit. “I’ve come to believe that I am that talented. Before, I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that.”

Normani Billboard magazine
Alexandra Gavillet/Billboard

Racism

“It was a subconscious thing. 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?”

Her Debut Album

Writing for the album says Normani, has brought her not only a sense of creative control but an opportunity to use her voice in a way she never could before. “There’s so much that I have to get off my chest,” she says. “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” — she gestures to the back of her hand for ­emphasis — “it’s unheard of. It’s me, and SZA. Who else?” That’s one reason RCA executive VP A&R Tunji Balogun sees her success as nonnegotiable: The ­culture needs more Normanis. “She ­represents so much of what [Keep Cool] stands for,” he says. “Forward-thinking, new young black artists.”

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Read the full interview on Billboard.

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