Usher vs. Tameka: Who Gets My Sympathy?

Usher and Tameka Raymond in 2007 (Johnny Nunez/Wire/Getty Images)
Usher and Tameka Raymond in 2007 (Johnny Nunez/Wire/Getty Images)

The unraveling of Usher's marriage to Tameka Raymond has long been a public spectacle, and last week the two battled each other in another forum, the celebrity interview. Usher sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an episode of her OWN show The Next Chapter, during which he admitted that he'd slept with one of his ex's bridesmaids.


Days later Tameka, in an Entertainment Tonight televised sit-down, blamed the woman for her affair with her ex-husband, among other things, which has left The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas, also a columnist for Essence, bewildered by all of the former couple's admissions and finger-pointing. 

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. 


Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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