By Maya Rhodan
July 5, 2015

Kelly Rowland keeps pictures of inspiring, empowering women on her vision board. The likes of Diana Ross and Sade—who she channelled recently in a fierce photo shoot for Mane Addicts—appear next to women like Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin.

“I think she’s so beautiful and inspiring,” Rowland said of Fulton on Saturday. TIME caught up with the former Destiny’s Child singer at the Samsung Galaxy Experience at the 2015 Essence Festival, where Rowland was able to tell Fulton how she felt about her in person.

In a short conversation between appearances, Rowland dished on what she’s got going on— juggling motherhood, her music, and preparing to judge aspiring singers on an upcoming BET reality show—but also got personal about raising a young black boy at a time when injustices facing men of color dominate the news. She and her husband Tim Witherspoon are already thinking about talking to their baby son, Titan, about how to interact with police.

“It’s a conversation that we have to have,” Rowland said. “We want to teach him to be responsible and to respect authority, but to always stand up for himself. He’s no punk.”

Rowland said, too, that more artists are starting to feel a sense of obligation to be outspoken about issues that impact the world around them—something she’s hoping to find in the artists she selects on her upcoming show.

“I would like to find a group that is very outspoken about issues and their opinions,” she said. Earlier Rowland noted: “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a really impactful girl group.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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