For the last few decades, Grammy award-winning singer Kelly Rowland has built a career of longevity marked by music that empowers women to be their very best selves. Whether it was creating women empowerment anthems with former bandmates of Destiny’s Child or using her platform as a solo artist to advocate for them through timeless music, the musician is a champion for women. That advocacy has not changed as the mother of two is now teaming up with consumer brand Silk for the #SwapItWithSilk challenge.
The challenge, taking place via TikTok, encourages people to trade in some of their commonly used dairy products for Silk’s dairy-free options.
For(bes) The Culture caught up with Rowland to discuss her latest collaboration with Silk, motherhood, and Black women’s impact on the movement to embrace plant-based food alternatives.
For(bes) The Culture: Could you speak to the importance of consuming plant-based alternatives instead of dairy products?
Kelly Rowland: For me, it was simply about just feeling lighter. Of course, I’ve had dairy before –your family introduces you to it and it’s so much of the food and culture and everything. I think the older I got the more I just wanted to just try some different things. When I started swapping everything out, I just felt like it would make sense to just feel better and to feel lighter and to just see how it all works, and I actually did. When you have these moments where you either swap it with Silk and you exercise or do whatever it is you need to do, your body feels better. That’s what was a big deal for me. I listened to my body.
For(bes) The Culture: How would you say that motherhood has had an impact on your choice to adopt healthier eating alternatives such as plant-based products?
Rowland: It’s all about the way my body feels. If my body feels a certain way, these are my kids, so I’m wondering if their body is going through the same thing. I’ve been very slow to dairy with my little one and have gotten so many different opinions from other moms and things like that. Whether they say to stay away from dairy or stay away from citrus, or stay away from this or stay away from that. He has eczema, so just trying to figure out everything. You just see what works and what doesn’t. Right now, you know, this whole plan and idea are working for Noah.
For(bes) The Culture: Why was it important for you to team up with Silk to launch the #SwapItWithSilk challenge, highlighting Silk’s plant-based portfolio across beverages?
Rowland: I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time now, so it was really natural for it to happen. When I started to get the calls about this, I was like, “Oh my God, I would love to.” One, because I would speak to it authentically. I don’t think that people like to be force-fed anything, especially if it’s not real and for me, I’ve always been a fan of Silk. Especially this #SwapItWithSilk campaign – to be able to give people another look, like, a plant-based milk alternative, I think that that’s really important so that they know that they have options. They can try it, and if they love it, great. If they don’t, great, but I think they will because I’ve literally swapped it with my son’s cereal, and he did not know. I swapped it with a smoothie and he did not know. I’ve done it with milk and cookies and he did not know, so it’s like, alright, I’m on to something here.
For(bes) The Culture: The #SwapItWithSilk challenge will take place on TikTok. Could you speak to the importance of utilizing social media tools such as this to connect with your fans and new generations of listeners?
Rowland: It’s a new generation and I think that it’s really important for all of these big brand companies to speak to all of them and be able to get on their level. If that is TikTok, then so be it. As I said before, so that they know that they have these options, and it makes it fun. It’s not like they’re throwing this down anybody’s throat. They’re literally, like, here is a fun option, this is the campaign and this is how fun it is. It makes it feel more like a community. I think it was brilliant because I feel like it’s passing the knowledge and passing the information to a new generation.
For(bes) The Culture: We’ve seen Black women like yourself, Ayesha Curry, and Pinky Cole advocate for plant-based food alternatives. Why do you think Black women are leading the charge when it comes to promoting healthier ways of eating?
Rowland: I lost my mom to heart disease. I think that when you give Black women another alternative, it could definitely help as far as their body is concerned – what they’re feeding their body, what they’re giving their body. I think that it definitely helps, it really does. I think that when one of us knows something and this something is working, we have to spread it to each other. We have to tell each other about it. That’s just what you do, as women, and a community of women, as a community of Black women. I think that when we move as a community and we’re thinking about each other, I think that it definitely helps. It’s close to home, too.
For(bes) The Culture: What advice would you give to other Black women who might be on the fence about embracing a plant-based diet?
Rowland: I say don’t knock it until you try it. I think so many people think about the flavor, the taste, and that kind of throws them off, but if you’ve never tried it, you can’t speak about it, so I encourage them to try it. Not only that, but Silk Nextmilk is literally delicious. It is genuinely delicious. You can’t knock it until you try it, so I encourage you to really try it, and you’ll be suddenly shocked.
Source: Kenneth J. Williams Jr.