Last night Tameka Raymond, former wife of pop superstar Usher, appeared in her first TV interview— part one of a three-part series— on Entertainment Tonight in which she discussed her marriage to Usher and the custody battle over their two children. So there’s no misunderstanding, Tameka explained that her appearance was a direct result of her ex-husband’s interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter, which “surprised her” and left her “in shock.”
So there she was on ET, sitting in the house she once shared with her husband, and I was watching, kind of baffled. I’d expected her to respond immediately, because she often defends her name loudly, but then she didn’t. And I was kind of proud that she learned her lesson — either that or she realized Usher had thrown himself so far under the bus in the OWN interview that there was nothing left for her to say. I mean, he didn’t answer any direct questions, confessed to sleeping with one of Tameka’s bridesmaids and consistently offered a revisionist history of his world to make himself look better. By most accounts, Usher came off bad, real bad, and a lot of people felt more sympathy for Tameka.
I’m going to chalk up this ET interview, a bad decision, to Tameka’s grieving — her son Kile died in July, and earlier this month, a judge awarded Usher primary physical custody of the two sons she shares with him. That’s the only valid excuse I can think of for her doing this rebuttal. But Tameka was clearly offended, claiming her ex had “gone for the jugular.” So perhaps there were subliminal shots fired that we, the audience, missed, and Tameka took as an affront… which leads us to her appearance on ET.
Tameka said she hadn’t known for sure that Usher cheated with her bridesmaid until he confirmed it to Oprah, but she had always suspected it. Still, she didn’t blame her friend, one who had once driven her to the hospital while she was in labor. She blames Usher entirely, citing her friend’s vulnerability and Usher’s charm. The clawing for her ex wasn’t necessary and the dismissal of her girl’s wrongdoing just didn’t make any sense.
But that was pretty minor, compared to another part of the interview. Remember that infamous Rick James segment from Chapelle’s Show when Rick James claimed he didn’t grind his feet on Eddie Murphy’s couch, then two seconds later said he ground his feet on Eddie Murphy’s coach? Okay. So Tameka responds to the allegations by Usher’s lawyer that she doesn’t have the “emotional capacity” to bond with her children by claiming, “I don’t know anyone, I think, that is more sane than myself.” Just moments later — and admittedly, that could be how the footage was cut — she sheepishly confesses to once spitting on Usher’s girlfriend, hitting him and throwing food at their car. Her excuse? “I was mad.”
Um, ma’am, sane folk do not spit on folk, hit others or throw edibles at vehicles, even when angry! Somehow, I missed the rumors of that story or had forgotten them, but Tameka’s interview dragged them up for me. I still feel sympathy for her losses, but I thought a little better of her before I watched.
There are two more nights of Tameka’s confessions to go on ET, but I won’t be tuning in for them. As ratchetly entertaining as it can be to hear Tameka and Usher confess to all the rumors that sounded too wild to be true, this He Says/She Says is also a little sad and best suited for a therapist’s couch, not a national audience. I hope they can one day get the help and resolution it’s so obvious they need — if not for themselves, then for the two children they are co-parenting.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk