Normani says she has a “responsibility” to represent young black women

Courtesy Billboard

Courtesy BillboardWith a new collab with Sam Smith out tomorrow, a debut solo album on the way and the opening slot on Ariana Grande‘s tour, this is Normani‘s moment to shine.

In a new cover story for Billboard, the singer admits she felt overlooked during her time in Fifth Harmony.

“It was a subconscious thing,” she says. “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?”

She says that while her Fifth Harmony group mates were always supportive and encouraging, “the girls don’t experience things the way I did.”

But now, she says, she’s found the confidence to step out on her own and be a strong voice for young black women.

“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,” she says.

She adds, “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?”

Normani is still putting the finishing touches on her debut album, which she describes as “sultry” and “dominant,” and hopes to release it in the second half of 2019.

Her song with Sam Smith, “Dancing with a Stranger,” comes out Friday.

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