NOMANI OPENS UP ABOUT THE RACISM SHE FACED IN FIFTH HARMONY
Normani has opened up about her experiences facing racism and feeling belittled throughout her time in the former girl band Fifth Harmony. In a new interview with Allure as its latest cover star, Normani spoke about the difficulties she faced during her time in the all-girl group, which went on hiatus indefinitely back in March 2018 after six years together as an established band.
Normani, the only Black member of the group that also featured Camila Cabello, Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui, said that she felt like she didn’t have the same opportunities as her bandmates when it came to performing. “I didn’t get to really sing in the group. I felt like I was overlooked,” she said. “That idea has been projected on me. Like, this is your place.”The 25-year-old star went on to say that she’s “always felt like the underdog in anything that [she’s] ever done” before, recalling damaging moments throughout her childhood where she was faced with racist remarks that hugely affected her — despite having been raised in a culturally affirming household.
“I grew up feeling beautiful,” she said. “My mom, my dad, my grandmother instilled in me at a very early age that I was beautiful.” “The fact that my skin was chocolate was a beautiful thing,” she continued. “My kinky hair was beautiful. I don’t need to straighten it. I can rock my braids to my all-white school.” However, Normani went on to share that she was faced with many microaggressions and racist comments from her white classmates before she was even in sixth grade. “I did get bullied a lot,” she admitted. “Not feeling like I had that representation at school was very hard.”
But despite having dealt with such damaging experiences in the past — both during her childhood and throughout her teenage years and early 20s in the public eye — Normani said that she’s now realized her power and is “reinventing” herself as she moves forward in her career as a solo artist.
Nomani was part of the group Fifth Harmony which was created after all members featured on a talent show and were placed together as a group. The group has since split and they have each gone on to pursue their own individual careers, including Nomani herself. Fifth Harmony had already defied the odds — by selling nearly half-a-million albums in a career launched on TV’s The X Factor less than five years ago, by scoring two top five Billboard Hot 100 hits (“Worth It” in 2015 and “Work from Home”) and by proving that the group, constructed on the whim and A&R savvy of Simon Cowell and developed with the seasoned industry know-how of Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid.