Normani began her journey to solo stardom last year, and the Khalid-assisted single “Love Lies” became a hit for the former Fifth Harmony singer.
In a new interview with Billboard, the Atlanta native dives into the importance of representing for Black women, especially for the “chocolate girls” who often go overlooked.
“There’s so much that I have to get off my chest. And there’s a responsibility I have as a black woman — one of the very few to have the power to kill it,” the singer tells the publication. “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?”
When debating whether she is “a Kelly Rowland or a Beyoncé,” the beauty says she sees herself in Rowland because “She’s killing it for brown girls. She carries herself gracefully, and ‘Motivation’ — girl, that was the prime!”
The Southern also shares how she believes her race played a factor when it came to garnering Fifth Harmony fans, saying, “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?”
Regardless, Normani is confident that her talent will take her far: “I see myself performing at the Grammys, traveling the world with my family. I want to meet all my fans across the world,” she shares. “There’s so many places I have yet to go to. I’m like, ‘Oh, wow, I really do have fans there. People know who Normani is?’ I want to have the clothing line. Hopefully, I go into fragrance. I want to cross over into film and acting. That’s a victory in my mind.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.