Tameka Foster’s BFF Talks To Essence Magazine

Tameka Foster Raymond 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.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Stephanie. This is going to get ugly as divorces tend to. Since Usher is in the media, it will be all over the media. I wish that celebs and their “friends” as well as family would keep their personal life from being publicized like this. There are people who only care for their skill in their occupation, not their personal life. We all know that no one is perfect and that celebs like all people go through things the natural things that this world has to offer. So hopefully articles like this are minimal and that Usher and Tameka will be ok, especially since they have children through their marriage. Maybe they might even reconcile. Who knows?

  2. Please Nyeisha Newitt,

    Tameka put you up to do this interview, otherwise you wouldn’t be talking..I was actually pulling for Tameka and Usher, I really wanted them to make it together as a black couple..But don’t try to blame their seperation on the blogs not wanting them together because Tameka skin isn’t lite enough..Although I do admit that the public was hard on Tameka because of her age and because she didn’t look like Beyonce or Alisha Keys..I always defended Tameka when people would call her ugly, because I don’t feel she is a ugly woman, I’ve always thought Tameka was very pretty, she’s really cute in the picture at the top..I applauded Usher for finding him a real sista unlike the rest of these self hating, color struck negros who don’t want to wife a woman who looks like their mother…But I do believe that there were some issues between the two of them that has nothing to do with blogs or outside pressure.


  3. This new chick is married and older than Tameka and the blogs have been very easy going on her. No name calling or putting her down- nothing. Bloggers and Black women in particular hated on Tameka fiercely because they thought she was too dark and ugly to land herself a rich and famous Black man. It says a lot really about Blacks in general. I bet when and if he marries this Latina there will be nothing but love and the blogs will dote on them and Ebony will label them a hot BLACK couple.

  4. Stefany, I understand your viewpoint. This is why it’s so hard for celebs to have successful relationship in the public eye. People have their viewpoints and unless the love is strong, it’s just hard to have it survive. What I do want is that I hope that Usher and Tameka keep the publicity to a minimal because for one, they are children involved. They have to be thought of too. I know they can’t be protected from everything, but it’s still important that their feelings are noted on an issue like this.

  5. @Curtis,

    I agree with you, at the end of the day it’s all about how strong your relationships is, I believe that if Tameka’s skin color was an issue Usher would have never married her in the first place..I don’t think Usher cared about her skin or her looks, I believed he married her with good intentions it just didn’t work out..An I also agree that they should keep their divorce issues out of the media, just handle it in private and don’t make a circus out of it.

  6. Hope she doesn’t go the Kelis route and make it a public spectacle! They need to handle this privately for the sake of the children.

  7. I had a feeling something like this was going to happen.

  8. @ JBL
    I agree with you. Black women in particular called Tameka every name in the book because she doesn’t look like a supermodel. They called her dark, fat, ugly..you name it. I was always disgusted to read the hate about her and never could wrap my head around why people (women) hated her the way they did. What is even more sad is that these same women probably look just like her. Self-hate at it’s worst. Usher defended her and the marriage in the beginning but I guess it became too much in the end. I knew this marriage would crumble eventually. This proves just how weak celebrities are. They crumble at any sign of public disapproval. So sad.

  9. You took the words right out of my mouth, prettylady818. I could never understand why people kept calling her ugly and all those other awful names. But yet and still folks get mad when Black men date outside their race. I can’t imagine being one of Tameka’s kids and having to read the nasty things that were said about their mother.

    Quick to tear our own people apart…very sad.

  10. You have a billon people around the world going to bed hungry, and you all are concerned about a woman who has her own money and family.

    Typical Typical black women concerned about everyone else, accept yourselves. Usher looks good, says the right things in the media, however, he still has a lot of growing up to do, based on his actions, Chili was lucky no get caught up in his drama.

    Ladies live your life for you, and be less concerned about others who do not even know you exist.

  11. Interesting… if I am correct didn’t this couple have problems from the VERY beginning? Didn’t Usher cancel the 1st wedding to this woman? There were signs all over the place that this marriage didn’t seem to have a healthy foundation. Also just b/c the media is TRYING to impose that Usher is now persuing a relationship w/ non Black Females doesn’t mean it’s true. They are only doing what they did in the beginning.. assume. With this situation everyone wants to place blame on anything or anyone but themselves. The media, the fans, & etc etc. But the truth is that the media & the fans we always be who they are,. The Fans may sway/disappear & the media will move on to the next hot thing & harp on it. The fact is that the media & fans were NOT in the house, car & etc w/ these ppl when it came to discussin their problems. IF the love was REAL & deep it wouldn’t have matter what anyone said or thought.. that’s IF the love was deep. Why care so much about what STRANGERS had to say if it was that true? Usher defended the realtionship for the longest.. my guess was that he had to convince himself as well. If it was REAL love & not some infatuated whim.. I would think he wouldn’t have to do that. I simply think that all the makings of a GREAT marriage were NOT there b/c if it had been, it could have weathered the ANY storm. In other words they had issues from the beginning that were direct results from THIER decisons & actions.

    P.S. Why did the Bff have to speak for Ms. Raymond, if there was something that she needed to say I would think it best that she ( Tameka) should say it. Don’t let others fight your battles. Especially in this particular situation.

  12. I don’t think it was just black women calling Tameka those names. I wish them all the best. It’s harder when children are involved. Hopefully, they can come out of it and still keep their friendship if they really had one.

  13. Blame_it_On_Da_Rain. This is why I love you. LOL. You are right, and when I made my initial statements, I am not saying that celeb relationship can’t survive(I know you didn’t say it, I just wanted to clarify it), but like a lot of relationship, the more voices that people have in it, the worst it becomes.

    That’s why people have to be real careful about how relationships and not to get into one off just feelings. I know love, at least the love we humans have is built off feelings, but as you know feelings alone don’t keep relationships on point. It’s a lot of work, especially a marriage. None of us know what happened in the Raymond Household and it’s something we really don’t need to know to be truthful. It’s just a shame that another black relationship was severed.

  14. @Curtis

    LOL 😀 Thanks .. I agree . I also agree when u said about going into a relationship ” off of feelings”, I believe that this is what happened w/ this relationship. I say this b/c of how quickly the marriage fizzled out. I think it was built off the infatuation & the feelings of something new. The defensiveness about the marriage came from the “feelings” that were new @ the time. I think that even if ppl would have NEVER said a word about these 2, this marriage would have still ended b/c REAL luv just doesn’t/didn’t seem to be there.

  15. I am perturbed. I never thought badly of Tameka. She seems like an attractive, well adjusted woman; however, his mother not showing at the wedding was the first sign of trouble to me. You’ve got to have some sort of familial harmony, combined with something stronger than mere emotions that wane. I wish these two the best and hope that the kids are fine.

  16. I don’t think this divorce is based on skin shade, age or attractiveness (which I may add is based on personal opinion. It is a simple case of incompatibility. The chemistry was not there and still isn’t. Why is Tameka contesting divorce by her husband who clearly didn’t have the guts to tell her about the divorce face to face? She has to be more of a woman not to force him to love her. She can’t wait for him to grow up and act like a man when he isn’t ready to. And why is this “friend” giving out info on their marriage. I wouldn’t appreciate my girl telling info about me…especially if I plan on getting a “tummy tuck” in the future. Is this “friend” really a “friend”? If so, then she should be there for Tameka and not make the “rumors” worse. Tameka added to the online fire by constantly tweeting. She asked for a following and now that it’s all back firing in her face she doesn’t want her kids to hear about it….she should have kept her live private from the get go so people wouldn’t get to her easily.
    I feel that this “BFF” only made things worse. Who is this BFF anyways a publicist? Anyone know?

  17. I never thought the mother not showing at the wedding was a sign. Some parents are overly possessive and controlling, especially in mother-son or father-daughter relationships, so the mother could have been wrong. Mothers aren’t perfect, contrary to popular belief. I can’t comprehend why people find delight in this divorce, and call Tameka a “witch” as if Usher was an angel. Everybody has their flaws, I don’t think it’s fair to blame it all on the woman.

  18. @missus said

    Her name is Nyeisha DeWitt. She was in her wedding (according to YBF). She is not her publisist. According to the article they have been friends for many years. Cut it out! Seriously… How did she make things worse? The bottom line is that the way the media has been ripping her apart, you’d think that nobody loved the girl. I say, “finally!!” We always see stuff in the media “sources say” “friends say” “insiders say”. At least she had the courage put a name and face with the story. Now folks want to discredit and nullify HER words? Why bother to put herself in the line of fire in that way?
    I agree that it doesn’t seem like their divorce was based on her physical appearance. But I DO think that the way the bloggers expressed their undying disapproval made him crack under pressure. I think that he feels or knows that the reason his CD didn’t sell was because he married her and his fans were not happy. Thats the bottom line.

  19. @Laila S you are so right….when his sales dropped they went down with his self-esteem,thats how these people meausure their purpose and value,i feel he blamed his marriage for his failure coz when you are that big you are no longer yourself but a brand and the usher raymond brand was not doing well,so what is he doing now by divorcing Tameka? re-branding himself at the expense of his family and heart.

  20. I would just like to know why everyone referred to this chick as ugly when nothing could be further from the truth???


  21. @Evette
    I don’t think she’s ugly. She reminds me a lot of Deborah Cox. I think women project that kind of vibe because in their wildest “dreams” they feel Usher should be with them! Seriously, what woman wouldn’t want to be with him, even for a hot moment! The comments about her looks are a classic example of how brainwashed we are as a society….light skinned people should be with light skinned people and so on. He married her because of his own reasons and now he don’t wanna be with her. I feel she shouldn’t hang on but have some dignity and move on. He’s lame to break it off with her publicly, so she should take a stand. Really, she’s tired of the comments on blogs, don’t pay attention to them. only they know what happened in the relationship. If this is a publicity move to sell more albums…good luck! what goes around, comes around. It may back fire on him!

  22. OH NO she does not look nowhere near Debrah Cox. I would not call Tameka ugly but she usually looks masculine. My prob never been with her looks but um didn’t she pretty much leave her older kids to be with Usher’s money..I mean Usher?

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