10 iconic references and easter eggs in Normani's 'Motivation’ video
16 August 2019, 17:13 | Updated: 16 August 2019, 17:40
Normani pays homage to everyone from Beyoncé to Britney Spears in her 'Motivation' video.
It's finally here. Normani has released her first proper solo single 'Motivation' and the video is filled with easter eggs.
As soon as Normani first rose to fame on The X Factor USA as a member of Fifth Harmony in 2012, it was clear that she was always destined to be a star. Not only did she have an incredible voice but she also had a performance ability reminiscent of the greats before her. In the years since, she's gone on to top the charts with artists including Khalid ('Love Lies') and Sam Smith ('Dancing with a Stranger') but now she's finally ready to step out on her own and 'Motivation' is a moment.
The song is a hit and the 'Motivation' video sees Normani reference multiple iconic visuals from the '00s.
What are the references in Normani's 'Motivation' video?
Normani co-wrote 'Motivation' with friend, tourmate and fellow superstar Ariana Grande, as well as ILYA, Savan Kotecha and Max Martin. Given that ILYA, Savan and Max are behind the majority of Ariana's biggest hits, it's no wonder that 'Motivation' slaps. The song sees Normani playfully tease a lover: “I’m a break you off, let me be your motivation" over effortless R&B pop production that harks back to the sounds of the '00s.
And the video follows suit. Directed by Dave Meyers ('bad guy', 'no tears left to cry', 'Señorita'), it opens with a flashback of Normani watching BET 106 & Park as a child. It then launches into a impeccably choreographed visual which has nods to the likes of Beyoncé's 'Crazy In Love' and Britney Spears' '...Baby One More Time'. With that in mind, here are the key references and easter eggs in the 'Motivation' video.
1) The flashback stars Normani's actual grandma.
Any longterm Normani fan will already know that her grandma has always supported her music career. Seeing her champion a young Normani in 'Motivation' and watch her dance is a beautiful nod to their relationship.
2) BET 106 & Park is more than just a reference.
Like many '00s kids, Normani grew up watching 106 & Park and dreamt of being on it. The show may no longer exist now but including it in the video shows that Normani is not only achieving her childhood dreams but she is also providing representation for dark skinned black girls just like her.
And yes the little girl is Normani which honestly just serves up even more to unpack - the fact she grew up to become the very kind of representation she didn’t necessarily have growing up. Lemme stop tho 🤷🏿♀️— Zeba Blay (@zblay) August 16, 2019
3) The dance intro is a direct homage to 'Crazy In Love'.
It's no secret that Normani stans Beyoncé. Putting her own twist on the 'Crazy In Love' intro? Iconic.
4) The bandeau top could be Normani's album name.
Normani was born in 1996 so it's no shock that she's wearing a bandeau with '1996' on it. However, Normani previously teased that her debut album is a number. Fans think that this could be confirmation that the record is called 1996.
so mani has 1996 on her crop top and she said the album name was a number... tea? pic.twitter.com/SAkz29iXq2— alexander (fan acc) (@ffifthharmonies) August 16, 2019
5) Normani is putting some respect on Ciara's name.
Porch choreo was a standard in '00s music videos but few artists tackled it with as much finesse as Ciara in '1, 2 Step'. That being said Normani does it with ease and Ciara's influence can be seen all through 'Motivation'. The porch scenes are also reminiscent of Kelly Rowland's beloved 'Dilemma' video.
normani said thank u to all the women that came ahead of her, the only name i don’t think i have seen mentioned is ciara’s - the scene with her dancing in the street with everyone sat on the porch reminds me of the ‘1, 2 step’ vid okay thank u bye— G (@oneofthosefaces) August 16, 2019
6) The basketball set is from a classic Jennifer Lopez video.
Normani didn't just reference J.Lo in 'Motivation', she used the set from the 'I'm Real (Remix)' video. Better yet, Dave Meyers directed both videos 18 years apart.
Normani did what she had to do!!! PERIODTTT! She payed homage to early 2000’s music and music videos while also making it her own! Ugh the FLAVOR— IG @BEATBYCLAY (@BeatbyClay) August 16, 2019
(Beyonce crazy in love- jlo I’m real remix) pic.twitter.com/xLPCqRhIRL
7) Normani references the original pop princess.
Britney Spears gave us life in 1999 with her '...Baby One More Time' video. Normani's pirouette and gymnastics sequence in 'Motivation' are a shout out to the legendary Miss Britney Spears. From one pop princess to another.
GWORL I AM SHAKING!! YOU ARE SERVING, I’m so proud ❤️🥺 pic.twitter.com/dZEa1n9eBk— Zacky (@MisterKordei) August 15, 2019
8) Love & Basketball plays a huge part in the video.
It's not just music videos which Normani channels in 'Motivation'. Elements of the visual hark back to Jesica Alba in Honey and the basketball romance seems to honour the iconic '00s rom-com Love & Basketball.
normani was giving you crazy in love, step up & love and basketball all in one music video— guillotinist (@topmisfit) August 16, 2019
9) The rain sequence is Step Up 2 reimagined.
Artists like Ciara and Ashanti have all used rain in their videos to incredible results but few rain scenes are more memorable than the final dance in Step Up 2. In 'Motivation', Normani proves that she deserves to lead a Step Up movie of her own.
Normani said Step Up 2 who? pic.twitter.com/9ASUdoRTKo— jaz ✨190806 Namarcus🤤 (@cocoanyamjoon) August 16, 2019
10) Normani wears a similar necklace to young Normani at the start.
In the opening of the video, young Normani wears a cross necklace and at the end of the video the current version of herself wears a cross necklace too. In doing so, Normani shows that she's still the same girl she was growing up.
We have decided to stan forever.