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The Elephant In The Room: Kelly Rowland Reveals The Turmoil Of Feeling "Second Best"

Kelly Rowland

A flower doesn't compare itself to the flower next to it, it just blooms. It doesn't compete for the number one spot, or spend its time worrying about when, how, and why the next flower will flourish it just… blooms. Kelly Rowland recently revealed that she had to learn this simple fact of life the hard way.


Nature can teach us a lot of lessons, some of which can be pretty hard to swallow. This week, a video surfaced of longtime besties and former group mates, Kelly and Beyonce, breaking it down in the name of Rhythm Nation at Janet Jackson's Las Vegas residency show, and proved that their lifelong friendship is as strong as ever. But as we all know, there's no friendship like one that's been tested by insecurity and passed with flying colors.

In the past, Kelly has been transparent about her feelings of being constantly compared to her best friend, and in a behind-the-scenes video of a recent studio session, she admitted some hard truths that she didn't even know were present:

"The elephant in the room for me has always been second best. That's actually the first time I've said that out loud."

After Destiny's Child disbanded in 2006, the three singers went their separate ways and pursued successful solo careers, but one group member would soon be known as legendary. With Beyonce taking over the R&B world and becoming a newlywed, and Michelle reigniting her gospel career, Kelly was left to forge a new path while both healing from an abusive relationship and struggling to find her own light.

Kelly revealed some of this turmoil in her headline-making song "Dirty Laundry", where she admitted that although she was happy for Queen Bey and all of her success, she was silently suffocating in her shadow. Her inability to break free from a toxic mindset and even more toxic relationship eventually affected her relationships with the ones she loved most; including her best friend Bey.

"It was the place that I was in…I was so young. My head was completely gone. That's what happened with my sister."

Although she didn't initially want to release the song, it was able to land a spot on her album and a whole lot of media attention. According to Kelly, walking in her truth (no matter how ugly) was a form of therapy as well as a way to mend the relationships that had been broken by isolation and insecurity. After playing the song from her former groupmates for the first time, she got a response that she wasn't expecting. She continued:

"What matters to me most is what we have. I'm so grateful for what we have as sisters…away from Destiny's Child. I played it ('Dirty Laundry') for her and Michelle. Beyonce said, 'I never left'."

No matter how dope you are, I think we've all felt a little bit like Kelly. We can follow our dreams, work hard, grind our asses off, but your success still won't look like Beyoncé's, because sis, you're not Beyonce. Rather than feeling overshadowed by the brightest star in the room, recognize your own light and use that sh*t, damn it.

After releasing the song, the singer received a sh*t ton of backlash from the media, and we all know how brutal the Beyhive can be. Although some critics claimed her song wreaked of jealousy and envy, Kelly confirmed that it's not like that at all.

"I think the people wanted those stories for years, and that's just so sad on them because it's not like that. It's so crazy, and I just think it's so sad that we live in a world where people don't want to see women get along and encourage and empower each other, and that's what we do for each other. I definitely think it makes friendship stronger."

Kelly Rowland is proof that good, hard-working, talented people are not exempt from the con of comparison. You're doing yourself a huge disservice every time you allow yourself to believe that your competition is anyone else but yourself. Beyonce may be the best at what she does, but that certainly doesn't make Kelly second best; it just means that Kelly is the best Kelly, just like you have to be the best you.

Be like Kelly. Let Bey and all of the other talented women inspire you to be your best because there's only one of those.

Watch the full clip below!

Red Bull Music Studios Sessions: The Kelly Rowland Edition youtu.be

Featured image by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

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