If Normani's "Motivation" seemed intentionally pro-Black, it's probably because it was.
In her December cover story for Cosmopolitan, the singer talked about her amazing year, including the debut of her hit single and video. In "Motivation," the former Fifth Harmony singer recreates iconic pop music videos both as a tribute (see: those Ciara, Kelly Rowland, and Beyoncé moments) and a twist with more melanin (see: the Britney Spears-inspired basketball court scene).
When asked about the video, the New Orleans-bred singer says she wanted to reimagine what pop music looks like. “I told the director, ‘I want this to be as Black as possible,’” Normani tells Cosmo. “I was like, let’s show Black culture. Why does pop music have to be so white? Why don’t we make it a little bit more me?"
Having grown up on Kelly, Beyoncé and other 106 & Park and TRL regulars, Normani wanted to pay homage to the singers she loved as a child. The article also puts her in a lineage that has moved from Etta James and Billie Holiday to Diana Ross and Tina Turner to Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
“Those women before me, I wanna finish what they started,” she says. “I’m gonna make whatever I do Black. You’ll know that I’m a Black girl, even if it’s on the quote-unquote whitest record ever.”
And apparently her vision is being noticed by women in music. In addition to becoming the first-ever brand ambassador for Rihanna's Savage Fenty lingerie brand, she is also beloved by Queen Bey. “The specifics of it I like to keep to myself because it’s just so special,” she says. “But Bey and Jay-Z have definitely been vocal about how much they want me to win.”
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Normani's “Motivation” Was Her First Opportunity to Be “110%” Herself Following Her Fifth Harmony Days
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue