Kelly Rowland’s heart of gold truly shines through when speaking of her latest campaign with The Boys & Girls Club of America. In partnership with Lowe’s, the organization is working to improve after school conditions for kids all over the country. Here, the southern belle dishes to EBONY about the new campaign, talks New York Fashion Week and congratulates Rihanna on a phenomenal runway show.
What do you hope to accomplish with the “Renovations Across the Nation” campaign with the Boys & Girls Club of America and Lowe’s?
I love and admire all the work the Boys & Girls Club of America has been doing for years, and we still have work to do! We’re renovating some of the Boys & Girls clubs thanks to Lowe’s! It’s important to provide an inviting place for kids be themselves and explore. Providing kids with a creative space to learn, to get to know themselves, to let their imagination go crazy. It’s an exciting time!
How did you get involved with the campaign?
I’ve been affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club of America from going to different events that they’ve put on in the past, and it’s so amazing to see these young people speak! It makes you so excited and encouraged about the future. I hate to put pressure on them, but they have so many plans for themselves in the future and it makes you feel a little more settled in your heart because you know we’re looking at some future leaders who really plan on changing this world one dream at a time. I’m thankful to be a part.
What were some of your favorite after school activities?
My favorite after school activity was singing into a microphone [laughs]! That’s what I did the most! When I was in Atlanta, we played hide-and-seek in the backyard, we definitely did homework and we all talked a lot about the future and our dreams.
New York Fashion Week is a wrap, and we saw you looking fab at all the shows! Do you have any designers of color you love or that showed great work this year?
Pyer Moss. I didn’t get a chance to go to that show because I was at Serena’s match, but I checked out the collection afterward. I just saw such beautiful, beautiful pieces, to the point where I’m sitting in front of my computer shopping the runway in my head! I went to LaQuan’s show as well, which was stellar. I’m really excited for these gentlemen.
We’re slowly seeing a lot more diversity within fashion. Rihanna just showed her latest Savage Fenty collection featuring girls of all skin tones and sizes. Do you think beauty standards are moving towards being more inclusive?
I think beauty has no choice but to be inclusive because beauty is diverse. Whether anybody likes it or not, it always has been and always will be.
I applaud Ms. Robyn because you have to take a leap and say, ‘I’m going to make this the cool thing to do.’ Young women need to see the diversity of beauty, so salute to Rihanna. And for her to do it first? She’s always been a trendsetter. You go, mama!
As a working mother, how do you feel about the perception that women have to sacrifice their careers when they have kids? And why are men not held to the same standard?
I think we all know the answer to the second question [laughs]. With women, we are the matriarchs of the home, and people expect us to have it all and do it all. For so long, people have placed women in a box. Like, ‘oh, she’s just a mother or someone’s wife.’ Now, you see women being CEOs, running huge Fortune 500 companies and becoming entrepreneurs. Yes, we can do it all, but it takes a hell of an amount of balance. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a mother, wife and entertainer, it’s that finding that happy medium isn’t easy. Whenever you focus more attention on one role, other things can suffer a little bit, just being completely honest.
Try your hardest, but the number one priority is making sure the home is happy first.
Your good friend Michelle Williams bravely shared with fans recently that she suffers from depression. How is she doing?
She’s doing great. I thought that it took a lot of courage and boldness to share her story with so many people. I’ve watched her platform just grow and grow because of that. It shows that she’s human, that she has emotions like we all do, and I’m just so happy that she’s able to touch the people who can relate. I’m very, very proud of her.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.