Normani is getting ready to release Dopamine, her debut solo album, on June 14. The news comes after years of delays and sporadic releases of popular singles such as “Motivation” and “Wild Side.” In August, Normani announced she signed to new management.

In a cover story for The Cut‘s April 2024 issue, the artist opened up about her experience being a part of Fifth Harmony. The girl group propelled her into global fame alongside Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane.

Normani said the experience was traumatizing, and she likened it to a prison sentence. 

“I didn’t want to be at the forefront. It wasn’t until later that I started feeling like a token,” she told the news outlet about how she felt after being told by X-Factor judges that she wasn’t ready for a solo career.

Normani started being the target of racism. She began receiving death threats and was being referred to as “Normonkey” after fans thought they sensed tensions between her and Cabello. Her mother, Andrea Hamilton, says she remembers seeing her “daughter’s face Photoshopped on bodies of people being whipped” on social media.

The artist says it was the lowest point during her time with the group.

“We just continued to do shows, and I was fearing for my life,” Normani said. “But they continued to put me out there on the stage. It was pretty much like, ‘The show goes on.'”

She did not feel supported by her peers. It was instead the opposite. Years later, racist social media posts by Cabello resurfaced.

“Direct and subliminal hatred has been geared towards me for many years solely because of the color of my skin,” Normani told Rolling Stone in 2020 while reflecting on the incident.

“It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me. 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.”

Normani said it took Cabello years to take responsibility.

“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,” she said. “Whether or not it was her intention, this made me feel like I was second to the relationship that she had with her fans.”

“I really hope that an important lesson was learned in this,” Normani added. “I hope there is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable. I have spoken what is in my heart and pray this is transparent enough that I never have to speak on it again. To my brown men and women, we are like no other. Our power lies within our culture.  We are descendants of an endless line of strong and resilient kings and queens. We have been and will continue to win in all that we do simply because of who we are. We deserve to be celebrated, I deserve to be celebrated, and I’m just getting started.”