It isn’t too often that the public hears about Black celebrity parents who are clearly aware of the struggles and challenges that come with raising Black children, especially Black sons. Kelly Rowland, however, has emerged as one of the latest Black celebrity mothers to reveal just how aware she is of the pressures and fears that come with raising a Black son.
In the aftermath of Ferguson and at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, many famous fathers were stepping forward to discuss their fears and concerns of raising a Black son in America—a country where it seems to be legal to kill unarmed Black men as long as you have a police badge.
Now, more Black celebrity mothers are also discussing the anxieties and fears they face knowing their sons will be subjected to the type of racial profiling and discrimination that their own fame and fortune can’t prevent.
Kelly Rowland said the thought of raising a Black male caused her to have a “mild anxiety attack.”
“I remember being pregnant and I remember, of course, finding out that it was a boy, and I had a moment in the mirror where I had a mild anxiety attack because…It was so many things going on, of course,” the mother of 4-month-old Titan told HuffPost Live. “It got me thinking and I had a little anxiety attack because I was like, ‘I have to raise a great man, and he has to know his identity.’ “
She discussed wanting to instill him with “values and morals” and “self-worth.”
These are the types of lessons that many parents hope will allow their sons to see adulthood, form successful careers and live a happy life.
Rowland described the thought of raising her son and leading him through his adolescent years as “very scary” but is confident that her husband Tim Witherspoon will be just the kind of mentor her son will need.
“His parents did such a great job of raising him….I’m just so thankful that I have him because he even has things that he wants to apply to our son and things that he had to learn as a young Black man,” Rowland added.
It makes the R&B songstress the latest celebrity mother to openly discuss the realities of raising a Black son.
Empire star Taraji P. Henson also discussed her fears as a Black mother after her 20-year-old son was repeatedly profiled by police.
“My child has been racially profiled,” Henson told Uptown Magazine. “He was in Glendale, California and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car. It was bogus because they didn’t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for.”
Racial profiling even on college campuses drove Henson to change her mind about transferring her son to the University of Southern California, a school that has dealt with a string of troubling racially charged incidents on campus in the past.
It was about all Henson could take. As a mother, she refused to feel like she was putting her son in a compromising position by allowing him to attend a school where he had already faced issues with racial profiling.
While racially charged incidents and racial profiling by police happen everywhere, the Empire star felt more comfortable sending her young son to an HBCU where he would at least be a part of an environment with more Black men who could relate to his struggles and provide additional guidance.
“So guess where he’s going,” Henson continued. “Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.”
These discussions of motherhood came a few months after reality star Kym Whitley also revealed that her “biggest fear is raising a Black man,” during an interview with OWN.
She explained that while she plans to talk to her young son about racism and police brutality, she isn’t sure how to prepare him for that.
“I’m not a man,” she said. “If police roll up on me, I’m not a man, things are different. With a little Black boy, there’s a different experience. I hope I can have my villagers and friends help me with my son because I don’t understand it. I don’t know what I’m going to tell him.”