Normani Upends the Pop Music Scene, Asking, “Why does pop music have to be so white?”

During the making of the music video for her summer bop, “Motivation,” Normani made sure that the visuals authentically reflected herself. She spoke about that process candidly with Cosmopolitan for its December/January cover story.

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

The music video begins with a young black girl running into the living room to watch 106 & Park on BET, a representation of Normani’s childhood, during which she would spend her Saturdays watching the countdown music video show.

“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’s questions echo a larger trend, one of increasing scrutiny on mainstream music institutions and their lack of diversity. When the Grammy nominations were announced earlier this month, for instance, many took to social media to criticize the overwhelming amount of white nominees. The Grammys previously made a series of changes to address these issues, from the academy’s membership to the nomination process, according to The New York Times. Still, many claim that artists of color—especially black artists—are not given their due.

Despite this, Normani is making sure to forge a path ahead for her and other black female artists. “I’m gonna make whatever I do black,” she told Cosmo. “You’ll know that I’m a black girl, even if it’s on the quote unquote whitest record ever.”

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