Growing up in the '90s, it was amazing to see the trio of powerful, creative women in Destiny's Child launch their career. From the first time I heard "Bills, Bills, Bills," I wanted to be as confident and cool as the young women singing about refusing to pay for some scrub's flip phone. I admired Beyoncé Knowles and Michelle Williams, but what made Rowland shine was her empowering attitude, determination, and powerhouse vocals.
In 2002, each member of Destiny's Child began to pursue solo careers, something that has continued for the past fifteen years. Rowland stood out because of her ability to be genre-fluid; she showed she was able to transition from hip-hop to pop to R&B and EDM seamlessly, care of collaborations with Nelly and David Guetta and her own material. In 2009, she boldly made the choice to cut ties with longtime manager and father figure Mathew Knowles to instill full creative control in her profession.
When it comes to Rowland's career, one thing is clear: she's never been afraid to take risks and try new things. Rowland has four solo albums under her belt (with a fifth on the way), led a TV search for the next big girl group on Chasing Destiny, and had a recurring role on Empire as a young Lucious Lyons's mother. Now a mother to a two-year-old son, Rowland has gone down another career path, this time as the author of Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened), a book she co-wrote with her OB-GYN, Dr. Tristan Bickman. Rowland wanted to provide comfort to new mothers who didn't know how to handle the physical and emotional effects of post-pregnancy.
2017 is looking to be a big year for Rowland with the release of her book, an album coming down the pipeline, and even a makeup line for women of color. I spoke with her about living in a Trump world, the impact of her new book, and reflecting on Destiny's Child.
ILANA KAPLAN: What was your reaction to the news that Hillary Clinton didn't win? Were you expecting it?
KELLY ROWLAND: I was stressed. I kept rubbing my head and touching my heart and trying to figure out how this happened. It was disappointment, wonder, and anxiety. I just went and had a glass of wine. I couldn't wrap my head around it. All I could think about was women, my friends, a job in the future I might want to have ... do I want to have another child? I thought about my nieces, my family, and this country. It terrorized me for a second. I was really praying for the best and trying to be hopeful. I was trying to find a silver lining somewhere, which is really tough. I was trying to figure out what I could do to not be a lazy citizen. Don't sit by and watch things happen. You see things coming on in the news and there's different information, you need to listen and keep your eyes open. Once you have the knowledge, and you realize there's a responsibility to change it, you have to act right in that moment.
IK: Have you thought about how you're going to talk to your son about this?
KR: Yes. My son is two years old. I don't even know what to tell him. I had these conversations with my friends who have older kids. One of my girlfriends said her daughter went to sleep before Election Night saying, "I'm so excited tomorrow we're going to have a female president. I could be president." She was so excited. My friend said, "I literally cried when I heard my girls moving because they were going to be ultimately disappointed." Then I talked to a friend of mine whose son is eleven years old, who is a beautiful, young black boy, and he asked about his safety. We're all trying to figure it out. I think our president-elect doesn't make us feel safe. We have to do whatever we possibly can. It's important to protect myself and protect my family.