As many of you know by now, Usher caved in to the pressure of the Black blogsphere and after less than two years of marriage has decided to divorce his wife and mother of his two young children. Since deciding to dump his Black wife, who has often been called ugly by our people, Usher has been seen in the company of what some would consider a more suitable woman- a Latina sista who herself is reportedly still a married woman. As in most cases like this, both parties (Usher & Tameka) have decided to stay quiet. However, their friends are not doing the same. First up to bat is Tameka’s good friend of over twenty years, Nyeisha DeWitt, who spoke exclusively to Essence Magazine about how her friend is handling the situation.
Breaking up is never easy, especially in the public eye. The most recent celebrity couple to join love on the battlefield is Usher and Tameka Foster Raymond. Since their friendship blossomed into a romance, the couple’s relationship was under intense public scrutiny and Usher fans and bloggers often balked at his decision to make Tameka—a longtime friend and stylist—his wife and mother of his children. ESSENCE.com sat down with Tameka’s friend of 20-plus years Nyeisha DeWitt, an educator and doctoral candidate, to set the record straight on all the rumors and why she’s fed up with the blogosphere painting an ugly picture of her BFF.
ESSENCE.COM: Many are probably wondering why you’re choosing to speak now after Tameka endured a hailstorm of criticism for years.
NYEISHA DEWITT: Let me first say that I hope Tameka and Usher can salvage things as a couple. I’ve known Tameka since I was in middle school and she was in high school, and we’ve been friends since. It’s not that I have to defend her or speak on her behalf as if she’s done something wrong, but I simply want people to know everything they read about her isn’t true. It hurts me to read the lies that people write and say about her.
ESSENCE.COM: Is it true she first learned that Usher filed for divorce after reading about it?
DEWITT: She didn’t know that he was going to file. Of course, she knew that there were challenges in their relationship and had been some discord since March and was aware there were some things that needed to be worked through. But did she know that divorce was imminent? No. It was a total surprise.
ESSENCE.COM: To your knowledge, is it true that they’ve been separated for the past year?
DEWITT: That’s not true and there’s proof of that if people would take the time to do their research. I was at her birthday party that he hosted in Las Vegas this past January and he flew in all of her family and close friends to celebrate. When I read that people were reporting they’d been separated for a year I’m thinking, That’s insane!, because that would mean he left her when she was two months pregnant with Naviyd, and Usher Raymond, V, was only five months old.
ESSENCE.COM: Was Tameka also caught off guard by the images of Usher and Def Jam’s Grace Miguel?
DEWITT: I don’t know what it is or isn’t. What I admire about Tameka is that, despite all the gossip, she isn’t bitter or hardened by it. I don’t know how she does it especially with children [from a previous relationship] old enough to read the lies that are written. It’s like having to keep your hands at your side while someone repeatedly punches you in your face.
ESSENCE.COM: Despite owning her business and a successful career as a stylist, Tameka is often perceived as a gold digger. Why is that?
DEWITT: I have no idea. I know how hard she worked to build her business. She was pulling in at least a quarter of a million dollar salary working with Usher, Lauryn Hill and others, so to negate her personal success as an entrepreneur is wrong. After marriage she chose to be a mother and wife and focus on doing more charity work.
ESSENCE.COM: Is it true she flew to Brazil to have liposuction and subsequently went into cardiac arrest during surgery?
DEWITT: Yes, she went to Brazil with friends but decided to have the surgery on a whim. And yes, she did go into cardiac arrest but she never had the surgery. What she had was an allergic reaction to the anesthesia which prevented her from going through with the surgery.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you think she still loves him?
DEWITT: You’re married until the divorce is official. Just because she’s going through this process doesn’t mean that the loyalty and love she has for him is gone. It would be dishonest to say that she doesn’t still love him and isn’t hurting. Again, the idea that people are excited to see her in pain and going through this with her children is so beyond my comprehension. These bloggers talk about her as if she has personally harmed them. They don’t know the woman I know, and to discredit her as a mom or wife is insane. My hope is that people will not rejoice in anyone’s failed marriage and allow Usher and Tameka to go through their process privately.