2016 Essence Festival - Day 2

We know Kelly Rowland as one of the super talented members of Destiny’s Child, who has gone on to reach success on many platforms. Her latest venture – a reality TV competition called Chasing Destiny on BET – is another accolade on her resume, but did you know we almost lost her at sea?

Kelly revealed that she was lost at sea for hours with a pod of whales dangerously close to her boat. And if it wasn’t for her Verizon phone, she could have been gone forever.

I bumped into Kelly twice this weekend at the 2016 Essence Festival; once at the historic Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans where she was Verizon’s guest of honor, and another time backstage at the Superdome.

What a great chat with #Kwame from #VerizonInspires and #KellyRowland at 2016 #EssenceFest in #NOLA

A photo posted by Global Grind (@globalgrind) on

“I was lost at sea!” Kelly told me.

“Like DJ Khaled?” I asked.

“No, I’m very serious. I got lost at sea three years ago. I went to go see some friends of mine in P-Town, Provincetown, and their friend had a boat and they thought they knew where they were going, but we really got lost and we kept trailing out and no one could find us. I picked up my phone and it had the compass on it and I was able to tell the people on the mainland what our coordinates were and they came to find us.”

Kelly credits her phone service for saving her life.

“I was petrified. I was like, ‘Oh My God, my life was over.’ I didn’t see any more buoys, I saw a family of whales a mile and a half out and I was like, ‘What if they come over and tip this boat over?’

Luckily, she had service and lived to tell the story.

Now, she’s raising her son Titan to be a strong young man.

“Motherhood has made me want to be better. It made me focus on being there and being supportive to my son. The most amazing, mind-blowing amount of love that I can ever feel in my whole life. I remember being pregnant with him and being like, ‘OMG, I’m going to have a son.’ I have to raise a great Black man, a man who is going to have integrity and be respectful.”

That’s why Kelly is so hyped about Verizon’s new campaign, “Verizon Inspires.”

“I am so excited about this Verizon Innovative Learning program because of all the different kinds of things that these young men will be learning in this program will benefit their lives.

“There are so many stereotypes and different things that are going on about our Black men right now. They are misunderstood at times, but they are great and they have potential and it’s so important for young Black men to see other Black men being great.”

The Verizon Innovative Learning program is a first-of-its-kind initiative. The communications giant will provide summer tech immersion and year-round mentoring for young men of color in grades six through nine to inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

This program is designed to break stereotypes by demonstrating the great things young men of color can do for the world when they have access to technology and education.

Kelly has a great man herself. She opened up about her husband Tim Witherspoon:

“He’s my best friend and I feel like I can get through anything with him. He’s everything that I pray for, he is my rock and my hero, and he’s the most amazing father to our son.”

Kelly believes we’re finally starting to see our celebrity men step up for the future of brown boys and girls, but they still have to play catch up to the women.

“Between Jesse Williams and LeBron James wanting to be there and be supportive, it’s so many men who are starting to take the lead. But I have to be honest, the women are killing it. That’s why we have more women as CEOs and running the country. But we gotta have the males step up, because y’all have to play catch up.”

You can find out more about Verizon’s Innovative Learning program at Verizon.com/Inspires.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram

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