Normani Kordei has opened up about the struggles she faced as the only African-American member of Fifth Harmony.
The Love Lies star was part of the five-piece girl group alongside Camila Cabello, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Ally Brooke from 2012 to late 2016, when Camila quit the group to go solo, more than a year before the remaining members announced their hiatus in March (18).
In a cover interview with Billboard magazine, Normani revealed that she felt insecure about her place within the band, and sometimes she would wonder if it was down to the colour of her skin.
“It was a subconscious thing,” she said. “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?”
The 22-year-old insisted that the girls tried to be there for her “as best they could” but it wasn’t enough.
“I don’t think they had the tools that they needed, because it’s not their 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,” Normani continued.
The singer recalled how she felt she had to work ten times harder to prove she deserved a place in the group, and how she would cry in recording sessions “like I’ve never cried before”. One of those times it was because she was the only member relegated solely to background vocals on the song No Way.
Normani is now working towards her debut solo album, which she hopes to release later this year.
“There’s so much that I have to get off my chest,” she said about her new music. “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.”
Normani’s collaboration with Sam Smith, Dancing With A Stranger, was released on Friday (11Jan19).