Kelly Rowland exudes confidence in her steamy music videos, but on a panel at the 22nd annual Essence Fest July 3, the former Destiny’s Child member said she had fears upon learning she was expecting a baby boy in 2014.
“I remember being pregnant with Titan and the moment the doctor said ‘It’s a boy’ and there were all these shootings happening with our young men. I just began to weep,” the 35-year-old told People during the Black cultural festival in New Orleans.
The “Chasing Destiny” host is the mother to now 18-month-old Titan Jewell, whom she shares with husband Tim Witherspoon. Speaking alongside Verizon executive Kwame Trotman at Dinner at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant – which Trotman’s company sponsored – Rowland shared how she wants to parent her young son.
“I want to raise a great man with respect for himself and others, and to know who he is and to know what his surroundings look like,” Rowland said. “I just feel like there’s great responsibility, not just as parents but as a community in raising him.”
Part of that community comes from male entertainers. According to the singer, these figures should use their platform to inspire young Black men in the same way she inspired young girls.
“I feel like our boys need to see it more,” she said. “If our athletes and our actors and our executives speak up, then [boys] can see themselves and they can hear their stories and they can feel like ‘I’m closer to what he’s doing or I can do what he’s doing.’ ”
Rowland has encouraged female youth by speaking up on her BET reality show, which she emphasized at its start would uplift women and be drama free.
The Atlanta-born star also has a piece of advice for parents raising young Black men.
“Our boys matter and their futures matter,” she said, “And they are our future CEOs and they can do whatever they put their mind to and we have to let them know that.”