Rowland suspects that the viral incident in Cannes was due to racism

Kelly Rowland has spoken out about the viral moment on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet when she was seen pointing 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 on the red carpet than other stars and decided to stand by her stance.

“The woman knows what happened. I know what happened,” Rowland says to the camera, fighting back tears. “I have boundaries and I stand by those boundaries. And that's all.”

“There were other women standing on the carpet who didn't look quite like me, and they weren't insulted or pushed off or told to get off,” she said, smiling despite the pain. “And I stood firm, and she felt like she had to make her point. But I stood firm, and that was it.”

During a premiere of the French-Italian film Marcello Mio On Tuesday, Rowland walked the red carpet at the Cannes International Film Festival, but her elegant appearance and interaction with the paparazzi were interrupted when event staff attempted to push her into the theater. The incident escalated when a staff member put an arm around Rowland to force her up the stairs and inside. All the while, Rowland waved her finger in the staff member's face in what appeared to be a defensive manner.

“The people who help the stars walk down the red carpet behaved aggressively and [Rowland] tried to ignore it,” an insider told the Daily Mail.

The exact reason for Rowland's altercation with the Cannes crew member is unclear, but there is speculation on social media that the ordeal had something to do with racial discrimination, given that the festival has reportedly been the site of racist prejudice before.

“Many people (black and non-black) also know exactly what happened,” wrote one X user. “Many of us have been in Kelly's shoes. I'm proud of Kelly for standing her ground.”

Journalist Nikki Fowler seemed to understand and empathize with Rowland's experience in Cannes.

“Watching Kelly endure prejudice, and yes, I know exactly what that was, through the videos and photos, is sad. And you know what? We are not the problem, if 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 guards and ushers who should leave their karenism at home,” Fowler wrote on X, detailing the disparate treatment of white and colored attendees.

“Kelly Rowland deserves better,” joked another social media user.

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