Singer Kelly Rowland has shut down gossip suggesting she has undergone a cosmetic treatment to bleach her skin, insisting she is "proud to be chocolate".
The former Destiny's Child star became a hot topic on social media on Wednesday (24Oct18) after she shared snaps of herself modelling a pair of sunglasses from her new collection with New York eyewear brand Smoke x Mirrors.
"Hello Lover!" she captioned one Instagram image.
The photos featured Kelly, who is African-American, showing off an apparently a lighter-than-normal skin tone, leading some followers to question whether she had turned to the controversial procedure to alter her appearance.
However, Kelly has been quick to shoot down the speculation, blaming the colour difference on the room's bright lighting.
"I just landed in L.A. and I saw that a lot of people are like, 'Oh my god, she bleaches her skin!'," the star began in a pair of Instagram Story video clips.
"Now, I never answer questions like this because I think it's so stupid... but I am not the one to bleach my skin, nor do I want to bleach my skin, nor do I have to bleach my skin...," she continued. "It's not for me, so don't go saying stupid stuff like that. You ever thought it could be the lighting...?"
Kelly then defiantly concluded, "Dude, I am still chocolate, forever chocolate, proud to be chocolate! Shout out to all my chocolate girls!"
The 37 year old's self-confidence has grown immensely since she was a child, as she previously confessed one of her insecurities centred on her dark skin colour - something she learned to embrace thanks to the help of her mother and best pal Beyonce's mum, Tina Knowles-Lawson.
"I had great women in my life to help me overcome that," she told CNikky.com in 2013. "I remember I went through a period where I didn't embrace my 'chocolatiness'. I don't know if that's a word, but I didn't embrace my chocolate lifestyle. Just being a chocolate, lovely brown-skin girl and being proud of that.
"I remember Tina Knowles, Bey's mum and I, I remember being out in the sun and I was trying to shield myself from the sun and she said, 'Are you crazy?' She said, 'You are absolutely gorgeous,' and she just told me how beautiful I was and how rare chocolate is and how gorgeous the skin is, all of this stuff. And I was just like 'Yeah!' Like, a light went off.
"So between her and my mother and then me sitting out in the sun a little more, just to be a little more chocolate. You just embrace it. You embrace everything that you are as a woman, even your flaws too."