Normani’s career post–Fifth Harmony is finally taking off. She’s on covers with Megan Thee Stallion and SZA, on blockbuster soundtracks with Ariana Grande, and she told Rolling Stone she’s planning to release her second single in time for summer. But she still can’t escape the drama. In her cover story for Rolling Stone, Normani addresses the racist bullying she endured from some Fifth Harmony fans and her former bandmate Camila Cabello’s own racist social media posts. Cabello came under fire late last year for old Tumblr posts and tweets that were anti-black or used derogatory language, including the N-word. “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 told Rolling Stone in writing. “I face senseless attacks daily, as does the rest of my community.”
“It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me,” she continued, speaking of Cabello. “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.”
Tweets, Tumblr posts, and old messages of Cabello’s with anti-black language resurfaced online last December. She apologized for using the “horrible and hurtful language” when she was younger, although not expressly for the posts. “I only stand and have ever stood for love and inclusivity, and my heart has never, even then, had any ounce of hate or divisiveness,” she wrote at the time. Previously, Cabello also had to address leaked messages where she and a friend call Normani and the other members of Fifth Harmony the N-word.
“I really hope that an important lesson was learned in this,” Normani said to Rolling Stone. “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.”