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For several years, many music fans and critics alike have speculated that Kelly Rowland was/is jealous of her more successful band mate Beyoncé Knowles. On May 15, Rowland confirmed this in the first verse of her new single, “Dirty Laundry,” that there was a time that she envied Beyoncé’s solo success. She sings, “when my sister was on stage, killin’ it like a (expletive)/ I was enraged, feelin’ it like a (expletive)/ Bird in a cage, you would never know what I was dealing with/ Went our separate ways, but I was happy she was killin’ it/ Bittersweet, she was up, I was down…”
While there may have been a time that critics would have reveled in such a confession, a much more harrowing revelation came as the song played out. In the second and third verses Rowland revealed a dark secret that she had been holding onto: she had been in an abusive relationship for many years.
Rowland sings, “this (expletive) puttin’ his hands on me…I was battered, he hit in a window like it was me until it shattered/ He pulled me out, he said ‘Don’t nobody love you but me / Not your mama, not your daddy and especially not Bey.’”
While Rowland and Knowles have since rekindled and strengthened the bond between them, the abuse is still a sensitive subject for the former. “It was very emotional. It took me days to record,” Rowland said in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “I had to get past being so upset and actually sing the song, not sob through it. I always hope that my music can inspire someone, the same way other artists inspire me.”
Since the song’s premiere, many fans of Destiny’s Child have made a connection to one of DC3’s last songs as a group, “Girl.” In this song the trio sings to a friend who has been going through a hard time in a relationship. In the first verse Beyonce sings, “in your face I can see the pain, don’t you try to convince us that you’re happy./ We’ve seen this all before, But he’s taking advantage of the passion/Because we’ve come too far for you to feel alone, you don’t let him walk over your heart.” In the accompanying video, the member that was being sang to was none other than Rowland. Fans flocked to YouTube and other social media outlets to express shock and sadness as well as admiration for Rowland’s willingness to share her traumatic ordeal with them.
While no one knows for sure who the man that Rowland was referring to is, her ex-fiance, NFL player Roy Williams, assured her fans and his as well that he was not the abuser. “So Kelly has a new song. Called #DirtyLaundry.. & what ever she’s saying in it ppl thinks it’s me. #wow #imnottheonlypersonshedated #wasntme,” he tweeted.
While the speculation of which ex is guilty of abusing the songstress continues, fans can focus their attention on “Talk a Good Game,” Rowland’s fourth studio album led by “Kisses Down Low,” which will arrive in stores on June 18.
Image credit: Kelly Rowland on Instagram