Taking questions from an audience of 250 young people at Hackney Community College, she said: "Surround yourself with positive people, even if they are not blood." Rowland explained that she looked to her mother and Destiny's Child lead singer Beyonce Knowles' parents as role models because her own father abandoned her while she was growing up.
The event was organised by Ray Banton, London East Connexions marketing manager, who has used his extensive links with the music industry to bring stars to east London.
Banton said: "Our strategy is to be in contact with young people's culture and find them positive role models. They can ask questions and see that behind the glamour is just an ordinary person with the same issues as them. We want to develop trust with the young so they can see the value of Connexions."