Rowland Suggests Viral Cannes Incident Was Due to Racism


Kelly Rowland has spoken out about the viral moment on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet when she was seen wagging her finger at a staff member, suggesting the incident was racially motivated.

In a clip shared by The Associated Press on Thursday, the singer addressed the incident, saying she was treated differently to other stars on the red carpet and decided to stand her ground.

“The woman knows what happened. I know what happened,” Rowland says to the camera, fighting back tears. “I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries. And that is it.”

“There were other women that attended the carpet who did not quite look like me, and they didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off,” she said, smiling through the pain. “And I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers. But I stood my ground, and that was it.”

During a premiere of the French-Italian film Marcello Mio on Tuesday, Rowland graced the red carpet of the Cannes International Film Festival, but her elegant entrance and interaction with the paparazzi were interrupted when event staff members tried to rush her off into the theater. The incident escalated when a staff member was seen placing an arm around Rowland to hurry her up the stairs and inside. Meanwhile, Rowland wagged her finger in the staff member’s face in a seemingly defensive manner.

“The people who are assigned to helping stars walk the red carpet were being aggressive, and [Rowland] was trying to ignore it,” an insider told The Daily Mail.

The exact reason why Rowland had the blow-up with the Cannes crew member is uncertain, but social media has speculated that the ordeal had something to do with racial discrimination considering the festival’s alleged history with racial bias.

“A lot of people (Black people and non-Black people) know exactly what happened as well,” an X user wrote. “A lot of us have been in Kelly’s position. I’m proud of Kelly for standing her ground.”

Journalist Nikki Fowler seemed to understand and relate to Rowland’s Cannes experience.

“To see Kelly endure prejudice, and yes I know exactly what that was by the videos and photos, is sad. Guess what? We aren’t the problem, when I can count on ONE hand how many Black women are in the audience at Cannes, maybe the problem is ‘some’ of your ignorant poorly trained security and ushers that need to leave their Karen ism at home,” Fowler wrote on X, detailing the difference of treatment between white attendees and attendees of color.

“Kelly Rowland deserved better,” another social media user quipped.

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