Late last week, Normani dropped the music video for her new single, “Motivation,” and while nothing in this world is guaranteed (what’s that line about death and taxes?), we’re going to go out on a limb and say that you’ll be obsessed with this video. The singer pays homage to some of the late-’90s and early-aughts’ greatest pop and R&B stars—while showcasing some truly epic dance sequences of her own.
The former Fifth Harmony star has made a name for herself by duetting with powerhouses Khalid and Sam Smith, but “Motivation” marks Normani’s first single purely on her own. And much like Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” video, Normani’s “Motivation” probably wins for The Most Nostalgic Visual References in a Single Music Video—the very prestigious award we made up just now.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the throwback references in Normani’s “Motivation” video.
The video opens with Normani strutting and hair-flipping (in slow motion, of course) down a street in a white tank and low-rise jeans.
We see a clear reference to Beyonce’s 2003 “Crazy in Love” music video.
Next, Normani ditches the Beyoncé-inspired chunky belt for a bejeweled, pink-and-white two-piece. (The crop top is painted with “1996,” the year of the singer’s birth.) She breaks into a dance sequence with a group of women in a neighborhood.
It’s all very reminiscent of Ciara’s “1, 2 Step” video, in which the singer also dances with her girls (albeit little ones) on a residential street.
Normani then moves onto an outdoor basketball court, which is a dead ringer for the setting of Britney Spears’ 1998 “…Baby One More Time” video.
Other parallels? Both singers pull off acrobatic-level dancing while wearing sexy-sweet pink-and-white outfits.
We’re seeing some Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule’s “I’m Real” inspo here, too, which features J.Lo dancing on a basketball court wearing (what else?) a pink velour sweatsuit.
The singer then boldly dances with a guy in the middle of the freeway, because she is Normani and she can dance wherever the hell she wants.
In addition to giving us mild anxiety, this sequence brings us back to Omarion’s 2005 “Touch” video, in which the singer displays a similar disregard for oncoming traffic.
Normani’s “Motivation” video wouldn’t be complete without hinting at Destiny’s Child, if only for the Kelly Rowland connection. Not only does the song share a title with Rowland’s 2011 song, but Normani recently told Billboard that she identifies with the former Destiny’s Child member.
Normani’s video rounds out with a nighttime group dance sequence, which we think hints at the epic dance battle in Destiny’s Child’s 2004 “Lose My Breath” video.
Take a peek at Normani’s full music video below.
We’re pretty sure you’ll catch some nostalgic Easter eggs we missed, or at least feel inspired to dig out those low-waisted, bootcut 7 For All Mankind jeans you’ve been holding onto for exactly this moment.