Normani is dishing about moving on from Fifth Harmony and representing young black women in the February issue of Billboard magazine.
As the ladies of Fifth Harmony went their separate ways, putting the group on hiatus, Normani, 22, says she was able to realize she has what it takes to stand out from the pack.
“I’m actually capable and strong enough to do this on my own,” she tells Billboard. “Not as Normani in the entity of Fifth Harmony, but as someone who is a totally separate and different person: Normani.”
“For us to all be able to go out, create, pursue our own solo endeavours, which is what we had been trying to pursue since we were babies in diapers. The idea was always to be solo,” she says of the group’s goals. But she adds that breaking out on her own came with some hesitation after spending years of feeling like she had to work twice as hard as a black woman. It’s a feeling she reveals has caused her to question her talent.
“It was like, ‘Hey, I’m also here, and I’m really good at what I do. I work just as hard. I feel like I have to work 10 times harder just to prove to everybody that I also deserve to be here,'” she says. “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?”
Normani admits that her fellow 5H members tried to be there to support her, but ultimately, couldn’t quite identify with her experience.
“I can give them credit for trying to be there for me, but at the same time… the girls don’t experience things the way I did,” she says, reiterating that though the group was once very close, they now speak infrequently.
But Normani is now ready to fully embrace the solo life and her talents.
“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, it’s unheard of. It’s me, and SZA. Who else?”
The “Love Lies” singer reveals she is now comfortably in a place where she won’t let the haters get to her.
“I’m way too blessed to even allow myself to focus on that. This is my time,” she says. “I’ve come to believe that I am that talented. Before, I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that.”