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How Kelly Rowland Is Fighting Sexism In The Music Industry

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/03/2016 Cole Delbyck
ATHENA IMAGE © Desiree Navarro via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

"I swear y'all don’t know the half of this industry," Kelly Rowland sings on 2013's "Dirty Laundry," an unflinchingly candid single about her struggles in the music business. 

After finding her voice with Destiny's Child more than two decades ago, Rowland has emerged as an artist unafraid to make a stand in a sphere rife with sexism and inequality. Now, on the verge of what could be her biggest career risk yet, she's finally taking destiny into her own hands. 

As an ambassador to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Rowland made her intentions known at an event held at New York's PS 64 Monday, sponsored by Claritin. With the support of the brand, Rowland will help redo outdoor spaces at BCGA locations in three cities across the country to promote the benefits of being outside.  

In April, Rowland is launching "Chasing Destiny," a new BET docuseries that puts the singer and longtime collaborator Frank Gatson on the quest to find the next superstar girl group. But Rowland, who insists the series is not a reality TV show, is motivated (no pun intended) to create an environment that nurtures young women instead of pitting them against each other. 

"I just wanted to approach it from an A&R standpoint and almost mirror the way Destiny's Child came up," she told The Huffington Post. "I wanted to make a documentary where it feels very organic and authentic [because] I feel like girl groups are missed right now. You only have Fifth Harmony and Little Mix."

Serving as a mentor not a judge to the "rough cuts of diamonds," as she described them in a Billboard interview, Rowland hopes to instill positive reinforcement in these young hopefuls within an industry that tells women to smile more, talk less and bare all. 

"I think it’s just important to know who you are," she explained. "I think it’s important to know that you are more than your body and that there is talent to the base of who you are."

Paralleling her past experience as a star on the rise with the series' contestants, Rowland said, "It’s fine to follow trends when it comes to fashion. That’s what me and the ladies did when we were coming up ... I’m just happy that we grew up with families that really instilled morals in us and told us that you're more than your body. We’re talented and we don’t have to do all that."

However, many young women face different circumstances in the music industry. Pop stars like Kesha and JoJo, for example, whose careers have been effectively held hostage by record companies, have been robbed of control of their sound, and allegedly in Kesha's case, their bodies. The "We R Who We R" singer, who accused producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald of sexual assault and battery in 2014, is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Sony, in hopes of being released from her contract. 

"For me, what means a lot for the girl groups is seeing young girls seeing women get along and come together," she reiterated. "There’s power in numbers and we have to understand that as people."

Rowland, the opposite of all talk and no action, drove this point home when she invited three girls from the audience to join her in singing "When Love Takes Over" at the event Monday. 

Destiny's Children @kellyrowland @bgca_clubs #loveistakingover #claritin

A video posted by HuffPost Entertainment (@huffpostentertainment) on Mar 21, 2016 at 2:56pm PDT

"My little baby Destiny's Child," she said, describing the trio after the performance. "We've got three new members."

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