Omg, Normani, you can’t just ask someone why they’re white.

When Normani created the “Motivation” music video, she had race in mind. The singer opened up about wanting to spread an important message to the world of pop music.

“I told the director, ‘I want this to be as black as possible,'” Normani tells Cosmopolitan. “I was like, let’s show black culture.”

You may recall the video opens up with a kid version of Normani watching 106 & Park on BET, something she did on weekends back in the day. There’s nods to black pop icons she looks up to, like Beyonce and Ciara, but also included Britney Spears and JLo because… taste.

“Why does pop music have to be so white?” the former Fifth Harmony member asked. “Why don’t we make it a little bit more me?”

Normani makes a valid point, and it’s something the music industry still struggles to answer. When the Grammys announced nominations earlier this month, people noted that the majority of musicians in contention were white. However, in recent years there have been strides for equality.

“I’m gonna make whatever I do black,” she continued. “You’ll know that I’m a black girl, even if it’s on the quote unquote whitest record ever.”

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16 Responses

  1. Totally agree and well, it’s pretty much up to the white men in suits who run everything or, fingers crossed- going viral- but to be fair: white rappers pretty much aren’t ever taken seriously. And I get that. Not that I’m saying ‘let’s be separate but equal,’ as a gay man, I will alway back up anyone feeling like pulling their minority card to get validation for owning space to speak their truth, but if you just put out good music and not music from a catalog, it’ll speak for itself.

    1. I disagree that it’s “pretty much up to the white men in suits who run everything.” I feel like it’s more of a problem in popular culture. Normani called out the issue, but I wish she pressed further. I wonder WHY it’s this way. 

      1. Its suburban America that is still racist, or at least- suburban America still looks at other cultures as ‘less than,’ in a way they dont realize. Urban areas aren’t an accurate reflection of the US. Ultimately, what I mean is I dont think pointing it out helps – us white people are stupid and defensive. Like nike.

  2. I agree. Pop music is very white with the exception of Beyonce and Rihanna.
    To piggy back off that, women and generally not appreciated in a rock music world with the exception of Paramore, no doubt, garbage, hole, and Joan Jett. And I always remember that breathe heavy article with Justin trainer talking about pop music doesn’t appreciate gay male singers but lean towards their divas (Adam Lambert is the exception until @JordanMiller drops his single and criminal video?) The point being the music industry is still sorta racists, sexist, and homophobic. Who are your favorite in the minority acts for their genre?

      1. Jordan is kidding. He confirmed he’s making a video to add to the spank bank in the comments section of Perez Hilton article. I understand if you don’t wanna read the article. It’s a cover of “Criminal”. If he doesn’t do it, he’s going to be letting down everyone who commented on that article. We 👏 are 👏 waiting 👏

  3. I feel like something is lost in translation here or she’s being misquoted. “Why does pop music have to be so white?” I would say some of the biggest pop stars in the past decade or so have been amazing black women. Is she dismissing that or is she saying there needs to be more black pop stars?

    “I told the director, ‘I want this to be as black as possible,’” Normani tells Cosmopolitan.
    This quote really worried me. Yes, there are nods to black pop stars in there but it worries me that this is “as black as possible” as they’re allowing her to be or worse “as black as possible” as she thinks she’s allowed to be.

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