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Kelly Rowland Airs Out ‘Dirty Laundry’ in Tear-Soaked Video

'Talk a Good Game' singer recalls abusive past in a time of Beyoncé lack

Kelly Rowland’s “Dirty Laundry” is a brave combination of gut-wrenching real talk and haunting production. It’s a powerful song that, yes, refers to the former Destiny’s Child singer’s complex friendship with Beyoncé (and even that’s done with stunning emotional transparency), but the meat of it comes from her tale of a harrowing relationship with a physically abusive man. As Julianne Escobedo Shepherd noted in her review of Rowland’s new album Talk a Good Game, the track is so intensely confessional that singing it onstage in Washington D.C. caused its author to break into tears mid-performance.

The Atlanta-born artist returns to that heavy space in the song’s new video, spending most of the clip in a dark pool — what looks like an isolation chamber — which no doubt represents the internal prison she’d created for herself while hiding her troubles from family and friends. Later we see her with sunglasses on as she recalls scenes from the relationship, acted out as flashbacks behind her. When the shades come off, the waterworks begin. For both Rowland, and perhaps for the rest of us too. Feel her pain above.