Normani is speaking out about Camila Cabello’s past racist comments.
The “Motivation” singer, who graces the cover of Rolling Stone, addressed the resurfaced posts from her former Fifth Harmony bandmate, which included racist slurs and memes.
“I want to be very clear about what I’m going to say on this uncomfortable subject and figured it would be best to write out my thoughts to avoid being misconstrued, as I have been in the past,” Normani told the magazine via email. “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.”
Normani, who faces racism every day, admits that she felt “hurt” by the racist remarks. “I face senseless attacks daily, as does the rest of my community. This represents a day in the life for us,” she added. “I have been tolerating discrimination far before I could even comprehend what exactly was happening. Direct and subliminal hatred has been geared towards me for many years solely because of the color of my skin. It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me. 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.”
Cabello has since apologized for the offensive comments, which were posted on a personal Tumblr she maintained around the age of 14. “When I was younger, I used language that I’m deeply ashamed of and will regret forever,” she said. “I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and the weight and the true meaning behind this horrible and hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it. I apologized then and I apologize now. I would never intentionally hurt anyone and I regret it from the bottom of my heart. As much as I wish I could, I can’t go back in time and change things I said in the past. But once you know better, you do better and that’s all I can do.”
I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. pic.twitter.com/iZrnUawUAb
— camila (@Camila_Cabello) December 18, 2019
Normani said she’s hopeful that Cabello has learned from the past. “I don’t want to say that this situation leaves me hopeless because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for personal growth,” she added. “I really hope that an important lesson was learned in this. I hope there is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable. I have spoken what is in my heart and pray this is transparent enough that I never have to speak on it again. To my brown men and women, we are like no other. Our power lies within our culture. We are descendants of an endless line of strong and resilient kings and queens. We have been and will continue to win in all that we do simply because of who we are. We deserve to be celebrated, I deserve to be celebrated and I’m just getting started.”
During her time in Fifth Harmony, Normani was targeted by racist trolls, who posted Photoshopped images of her being lynched, and received death threats after some fans believed she had slighted Cabello by calling her “quirky.” “She’s still scarred from that,” said her father.
Cabello defended her on Twitter, but the group wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. “[It was] them not knowing how to be there for me the way that I needed it because it wasn’t their own experience, and because when they look at me they don’t see me,” she said.
Normani is now focused on her promising solo career. She is about halfway through recording her debut album, and hopes to have a single out by summer. “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 said. “[It’s] just overwhelming now to have the opportunity to be all that I want to be.”