Kelly Rowland: ‘Y’all Black men have to play catch up’

Verizon Inspires ambassador Kwame and Kelly Rowland - photo credit IG @messy_boots
Verizon Inspires ambassador Kwame and Kelly Rowland – photo credit IG @messy_boots

Kelly Rowland joined #VerizonInspires ambassador Kwame in a panel discussion to speak on Verizon’s new Innovative Learning program. I must admit her interest in this first-of-its-kind initiative was quite impressive. Rowland’s statement about Black men having to play catch up was definitely not an attempt by the former Destiny’s Child artist to throw shade at our Black men. Perhaps I should share her entire quote for clarity:

“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 [that] 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 … 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.”

Verizon chose a select group of young men of color from Jackson, Mississippi ranging from grades 6th to 9th to inspire them to pursue careers in math, technology, engineering and science. These young men joined our Verizon dinner at the infamous Dookey Chase Restaurant in New Orleans. Not only did they get to meet and greet Kelly Rowland and share a fabulous dinner, but also to everyone’s surprise the owner of the restaurant popped in to meet the boys.

The overall goal of Verizon’s new technology program is to break stereotypes about the limitations placed on Black men when it comes to technology. Verizon is a part of the solution by putting their money where the talk is. This definitely explains why their new slogan is so appropriate #VerizonInspires.

I know if I were a youth, the training from a major company like Verizon definitely would inspire me to learn all I could. Rowland was so elated about the new program. As a mother of two boys, I understand her statement of how being a mom inspired her to want to be great for the sake of her boys when she said, “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.”

Special thanks to Verizon Wireless for picking up the torch and passing it to the young men who will soon be our leaders. They are going to discover how much they will be able to do at a young age with access to technology, training and math. Also, to bring everyone up to speed, Verizon gave the entire group the new #360 CAM, the Verizon mofi charger and the Sandisk 16G SD card.

What are your thoughts on Rowland partnering with Verizon for such a great cause?

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