Joined by Megan Thee Stallion and SZA, Normani was the latest star to grace the cover of Rolling Stone’s March issue dedicated to women shaping the future. In an accompanying interview with the trade magazine, Normani spoke about the progress she’s made on her anticipated debut solo album.
The interview also marked the first time that the 23-year-old has broken her silence on former Fifth Harmony bandmate Camila Cabello’s past racist social media posts. In December of 2019, Cabello apologized on Twitter for her past “uneducated” and “ignorant” views after Tumblr posts containing racist memes and slurs resurfaced online.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Normani admitted that she’s trying to wrap her head around the posts.
“I struggled with talking about this because I didn’t want it to be a part of my narrative, but I am a Black woman, who is a part of an entire generation that has a similar story,” the “Motivation” singer told the publication via email. “It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me.”
Referencing the racial abuse she experienced in 2016, Normani said “it was devastating that this came from a place that was supposed to be a safe haven and a sisterhood, because I knew that if the tables were turned I would defend each of them in a single heartbeat. It took days for her to acknowledge what I was dealing with online and then years for her to take responsibility for the offensive tweets that recently resurfaced. Whether or not it was her intention, this made me feel like I was second to the relationship that she had with her fans.”
As fans will recall, Normani was subjected to racial abuse online by fans of Cabello over a Facebook Live Q&A where she described her former bandmate as “quirky.” Fans perceived it as a slight against the “Havana” singer, and flooded her with an onslaught of racist messages and images, including doctored images of her being lynched. Cabello addressed her fan’s behavior days later in a vague post on Twitter where she asked them to “be kind.” She made no mention of the harassment Normani was facing at the time. Subsequently, Normani took a hiatus from social media.
Normani’s father told Rolling Stone that she's still “scarred” from the ordeal. However, she was clear in that she didn’t want this situation to “leave [her] hopeless” and hopes “that an important lesson was learned in this.”
“I hope there is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable,” she wrote in her closing sentiments.
Elsewhere in the interview, the “Love Lies” singer shared that she estimates she’s about halfway done with her album, and wants to drop a single this summer. Although, she wants to take her time crafting something that she can proudly look back on.
“I want to be able to feel like I was represented in the most authentic way possible because I know what it feels like coming from a girl group and being told who to be,” she explained. “[It’s] just overwhelming now to have the opportunity to be all that I want to be.”
Read Normani’s full interview with the Rolling Stone here.