Usher Won Custody Of His Sons, But Do the Babies Lose Without Their Mother In Their Lives?

It’s not that I’m anti-father. I have one. Married to one, too. I know firsthand the power a good black dad has in the life of children—how their presence and love and discipline and direction can change the course and work miracles for little human beings. I know, too, that though we are a society that deifies motherhood, not all black mothers are good moms—that pushing a child from your loins does not guarantee you’ll be fit and ready to properly raise a little one. Still, in my heart, I just feel like something is woefully wrong about the whole Usher Raymond vs. Tameka Raymond child custody case that, on Friday, saw the R&B superstar awarded primary custody of the ex-couple’s sons.

For the record, I don’t know Usher and Tameka beyond pictures of them as a happy couple under the stress of the ugly public glare and then an angry, divorcing couple fighting over their kids, Saks Fifth Avenue cards, nanny salaries and who loves their kids more. Though I’ve read plenty on the innanets about their bitter divorce case and public child custody tussling, I believe what I see only .01 percent of the time because, well, the internet is full of fans and liars—fans and liars who get it wrong and don’t care that their starry-eyed wrongness and desperate need to align with celebrity has a real impact on real lives. Particularly in this, the Raymond vs. Raymond case.

Who knows? Usher may be a terrific, involved, attentive father to his and Tameka’s sons, 4-year-old Usher Raymond V and 3-year-old Naviyd Ely Raymond. And Tameka may be that mother who is, as characterized in court testimony, an angry, bitter mother who is more interested in being in the public eye than she is being a good mom to her babies. Still, one must consider just how much cash and celebrity plays into those characterizations—how easily being a world-known superstar can court favor not just in public opinion, but in a setting where the almighty dollar can buy you the best lawyers, the best psychiatrists, the best witnesses. The best outcomes.

In other words, let’s not pretend like money, status and fame, sprinkled with a whole lot of super star dust, did not play into Usher’s big win. Or Dwyane Wade’s, for that matter.

This much, I know is true: it is absolutely heartbreaking to know that a mother who carried a seed in her belly, who pushed a baby through her loins, who fed that child at her breast—who created, sustained and nourished life—can have her babies so angrily, unceremoniously stripped from her custody. From her home. From her arms. Tameka’s case is especially moving considering that just last month, her 11-year-old son, Kile Glover, died after a tragic jet ski accident in Georgia.

My heart would have been just as heavy is the judge in the case would have stripped Usher of his physical parental rights and said he had absolutely no control or say over his sons’ lives.

Look, children need their mamas. Their daddies, too. Beyond an occasional visit and a  two-week vacation in the summer. And it’s a damn shame that the grownups involved in the Usher Raymond vs. Tameka Raymond child custody case, and the other high-profile battles like it, couldn’t pull it together in a way that would give their children what they need most—a mommy and a daddy who love them enough to get over their personal relationship crap to co-parent the babies they created in love. That is, perhaps, the biggest loss of all.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Saida M Latigue

    The entire saga that has played out in the media regarding their relationship seems to be this : “Never allow another person to ruin your life by making you hate them” something drastically changed in their relationship as husband & wife, however to let it impact the children negatively, is simply heartbreaking.
    I hope they can find a common ground of love & respect, just for the sake of their children. So very unfortunate.

  2. I just wonder if Usher had ulterior motives from the VERY beginning…I could say more but…

  3. What in the world! I hope they can work this out!!

  4. This is a very well written piece, however it has NEVER been reported that Tameka was neglectful or abusive to those babies. I follow her tweets since 09 and she is always somewhere with them, circuses, ball parks, birthday parties, cooking Thanksgiving dinners, I have seen all of the tweets, pictures and children references/jokes about them and she seems to not just love but ADORE her sons. She had just tweeted awesome words about her sons (Kile included before he passed ironically). She is always talking about them more than most that I follow, this ruling is sickening, especially given the fact that Usher is not stationary or mature even.
    He is just done with her so he wants to strip her of everything, I’ve seen this movie before in my own family. Why wouldnt he submit to a drug test if he’s clean???? I just read that his lawyer was the Judges campaign manager or something. This ruling was nasty and wrong, the babies NEED their mother especially after just losing their 11 year old brother. What turmoil this woman must feel?? Usher will pay for the pain he has caused that family. I never was a fan and will certainly never become one at this point. His smug attitude and arrogance reeks in every interview he gives. Bad energy! People ask why HE married her?? Why did she marry HIM? Hes a young, rich, punk.. Money probably was why she married him. I feel for her but hope she learned a lesson from him and his type. Rant over 😉

  5. I totally agree, kids need both parents. And man this breaks my heart. This woman has lost a child in accident and two in a court battle. All in a short amount of time. I am praying for them both.

  6. I wonder how this case would have turned out if Tameka had said, I just want my kids, and told Usher to keep his money? Maybe if she had taken money off the table, she may have gotten what she ultimately wanted but when you fight over a Saks card, you paint a picture (even if untrue) that you are in it for different reasons.

  7. This is very sad. I wish that I could say that we should respect the process, that a neutral judge decided this case, etc, etc. But when judges are elected, and there is evidence that Usher’s lawyer not only contributed but also raised money for the judge’s campaign…sigh.

    It’s also well known that mothers generally do not lose custody of such young children unless there is seriously something wrong.

  8. I want to comment but I can’t this… I’m a mother and I have seen the damage a money hungry woman can do to a child and their father. And as you said not all women are capable of being a mother. One last thing, what can a mother teach her son about being a man… I’m on both sides of this fence, I can see how it doesn’t seem fair, but at the same point how is it fair to the man to have his rights stripped away by the courts as well… 2 sides to every coin, some women can be down right NASTY! Again speaking from experience, watching my husband go through that with his money hungry ex…

  9. Now now—It’s very shocking that you begin your story about how great fathers are but go on to attack them in a so-so slick way. Temeka tried to fight and spit on a friend of Usher’s>>suppose had that been Usher behaving that way you would have mentioned it in your article.(interesting that you didn’t mention it) Dwayne Wade’s ex-played custody games, wouldn’t give him his due time when it was his time—be TRULY fair with these type articles. There are many many women who simply DO NOT deserve primary custody no matter that fact that they carried the child in their womb. —- I speak from experience>>no matter how much i tried, went to court, sought visitation the mother of my child would play games, not show up, move constantly>>all in attempts to hurt me>>>>so be careful with the bias reporting!!!

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      I’m sorry GoTo, but I’m not really seeing your point or my alleged bias, especially considering I made clear that I would be just as bothered had Usher been denied his rights as a father, and that babies need BOTH their parents. The game-playing on both parts is ridiculous; I wish GROWN UPS would act their age when it comes their children and their well-being, whether they’re the mother or the father.

      • I think that they could not work together and the judge decided what was in the best interst of the children. Tameka Foster had a lot of negative behavior and violent incidents in front of the children. She did not want to share custody, she initiated everything, didn’t want to postpone it after Usher gave her that option..he even let her live in the house rent free # yrs after the divorce. I was never a fan of his, still not but God does not like ugly and what goes around comes around.

  10. I have to agree with GoTo. There is an undertone, that the mother is more important that the father. As a father, I certainly understand that tone, as it’s one that is pervasive throughout society. But it’s certainly not something I agree with. Although, under appreciated fathers is a whole other issue entirely. You mentioned that you would have been just as upset had Usher lost his “physical parental rights.” I don’t think custody and physical parental rights are the same thing and shouldn’t be compared as the same.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby


      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m not sure if you’re new to MyBrownBaby or if this is simply the first time you and GoTo are commenting, but let me make this absolutely and unequivocally clear: I SUPPORT BLACK FATHERS. With abandon. You are welcome to search “black father” and “black dad” in the MyBrownBaby search engine to your right to follow the posts in which I champion the rights of black dads to be in their children’s lives. Read into this post all you want to, but I think I was pretty clear on where I stand on a father’s right to parent his babies. I’ve also made it pretty clear where I stand on a mother’s right to parent her babies. Rather than attack and misinterpret my specific feelings on the matter, you’re welcome to weigh in on how YOU feel about black parents and the way they should and shouldn’t parent after divorce.

      • rachael hernandez

        I just am wondering if you would have written a reverse article if Usher wouldn’t have won the case. I understand you heart would have been heavy but would it have prompt an reverse article. Also as you said you weren’t there so I’m not to sure about the details ” so angrily, unceremoniously stripped from her custody” accuracy.

  11. Denene—-You keep falling into the false equivalent trap of saying “both”need to do something. Tameka told the court that Usher was trying to hurt her by canceling the Black AMEX card that he was still paying for despite the breakup..>>>Tameka was suing for nanny allowance and demanded he hire a nanny for the kids… to comment????…Not attacking you because trust me I love your blog but some things just need to be said when the story appears biased >>>>intentions or not<<<<(on another high profile note Chris Bosh ex-is trying to sue because he lives in FL to change her child support from $2500/month to $30,000/month–is this for the child???)

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Actually, TheGoto, I don’t care to comment on the credit card (it was Saks, not AMEX) or the nanny allowance and childcare issues between Tameka and Usher because, as I clearly stated, the only thing I have to go on is the internet rumors and conjecture. Check the sentence beginning with, “Though I’ve read plenty on the innanets about their bitter divorce case and public child custody tussling, I believe what I see only .01 percent of the time because, well, the internet is full of fans and liars…”

      And maybe advocating that the two people who made the babies—the father and the mother—put aside their petty relationship differences to raise their children with the care, attention and love they need from BOTH parents is “falling into a trap” to you. But it makes perfect sense to me.

  12. Great Piece Denene, I’m especially baffled because the reason why they got a divorce in the first place is because everybody was in their marriage, and other business affairs as well as he was always on the road and never had time to spend with the kids. Your right we don’t know them personally, but I do know our judicial system is not concerned about the children but about what money is spent in the courtrooms or your celebrity status. So because he has custody over the kids, is he really going to step up and be the father he should have been or does he just want bragging rights….either way the children are the ones who miss out.

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