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Normani Talks Black & Positively Golden, Idolizing Janet Jackson & Much More

Photo: Getty Images for McDonald's

Atlanta born, New Orleans raised Normani is taking the music industry by storm: Her single Dancing with a Stranger is a radio hit, and she’s currently touring with megastar Ariana Grande. She was once a member of the platinum-selling girl group Fifth Harmony; when the band went on hiatus, Normani launched as a solo performer. And not only is she dazzling the world with her vocal talent, but the artist has also recently joined forces with McDonald’s to take part in its Black & Positively Golden campaign, the brand’s largest African-American-focused marketing effort in 16 years, which is designed to uplift communities and inspire excellence.

Over the weekend, EBONY.com got an exclusive interview with the star.

EBONY: What inspired you to join the Black & Positively Golden movement?

NORMANI: As a young Black woman in the music industry, I’ve been blessed to have this incredible platform and want to make sure that I’m able to inspire and be a role model for my fans. I want to show them that it’s OK to be true to who you are, and each of us is beautiful in our own way because that’s how God made you.  The Black & Positively Golden campaign highlights all things positive in the culture and focuses on stories of truth, power and pride while celebrating Black excellence, so I’m all for it. 

What are you looking forward to the most with the launch of Black & Positively Golden?

I’m looking forward to seeing my fans and the community come out to celebrate this moment. I love performing and being able to perform at such an important event is so special to me.

What is your personal definition of “positively golden”?

To me, it means being confident and believing in yourself and knowing that you are special because that is how God made you.

What do you hope to contribute by being a part of the kickoff event?

I hope I’m able to inspire the fans and everyone at the event to believe in themselves and stay true to who they are because being true to ourselves is what makes us positively golden.

Your single “Dancing with a Stranger” is now a hit on the radio. You are on tour with Ariana Grande. Your career is evolving. How are you using your music to inspire, uplift, empower and educate?

I always promise myself to remain honest. I want to make music that means something. I hope that anytime my records come on it becomes a personal experience for the listener. I do my best to leave an impact, and I don’t take the opportunity for granted. I don’t care if I’m performing in an arena full of thousands or a theater full of hundreds. If one person leaves feeling moved by what I offered, then my mission is complete.

Given your success and many accomplishments, I think it’s safe to assume you have a strong work ethic. From where or whom do you pull your inspiration and drive? 

I get my inspirations from God, because I know through him all things are possible. And my mom.

What performances, albums and/or singers have had the biggest impact on you and your career?

Janet Jackson. I will always remember what impact the Scream music video has on me. I remember walking around with a key for an earring thinking that I was Janet. Janet has paved the way for artists like me. She’s just one of the greats in my book because my list would be entirely too long.

How do you make sure you stand out from other talented Black female artists?

I don’t think I intentionally try separating myself from other Black female artists. I believe what makes us all special and unique are the many layers that make up who we are as human beings. I am grateful to God to be part of a time when many girls who look like me are rightfully claiming what belongs to them. I had many role models who paved the way for me. I want to keep the cycle going and [do] the same for the next generation. 

What’s your life’s motto? 

Philippians 4:13 [“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”]

What can your fans and followers expect from you next?

A whole lot more touring. 

Stay connected with Normani on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @Normani, and be sure to stay up to date with McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign by following @wearegolden on Instagram.

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