Normani has finally spoken about the revelation that former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello had made racist posts online as a teenager. Cabello, whose fans once bullied Normani off of social media, has apologized for her past actions. Normani, once she decided to speak her mind about it, had a lot to say about her former bandmate, including how this all ties in to the racist bullying she faced years ago.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Normani came clean about how she really feels about Cabello's Tumblr posts from when the pop star was about 15. In the postings, Cabello used the n-word and reposted racist memes. Though Normani was initially hesitant to speak out about it, explaining that she "didn't want it to be part of my narrative," she eventually decided to say something, partially for her community and partially because of her previous experience with racist bullying, ironically at the hands of Cabello's fervent fans.
The "Motivation" singer revealed that she faced "senseless attacks daily" and that "direct and subliminal hatred" had been spewed at her for years simply because she is a black woman. "It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn't hurt me," Normani admitted. "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." What hurt even more about this scandal is the fact that Normani had been specifically targeted by Cabello's fans in the past.
During a Facebook Live conversation with Galore Magazine in 2016, Normani was asked to describe her bandmates. Fans of the "Havana" singer took offense when Normani described Cabello as "quirky" and "cute," grumbling that Normani had been far more descriptive of the other girls. This outrage turned nasty when people began using derogatory slurs towards Normani, and some even passed around an edited photo of Normani's face on the body of a lynched slave. The racist abuse led to Normani taking a break from Twitter.
All the members of Fifth Harmony spoke out about the abuse and said it was unacceptable. Cabello wrote on Twitter, "i stand by the words 'love only', meaning I won't tolerate on my timeline any kind of hate, racism, or discrimination towards ANYONE. period." This response, and the fact that it came days after the fact, left quite the impact on Normani. "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," Normani continued.
Though she was upfront about the pain caused by Cabello's actions and inaction, Normani made it clear that she thought redemption was possible. "I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for personal growth. I really hope that an important lesson was learned in this. I hope there is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable." It was a graceful acknowledgement of both the pain caused by Cabello and the hope Normani still held for her former bandmate to become a better person. It's difficult to walk that fine line, but it seems like Normani managed it better than most.