Usher and His Words on Family, Fatherhood and Forgiveness in BET Awards Lifetime Achievement Speech

Has he been in the industry that long? Usher Raymond V, the singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor, burst onto the music scene with his self-titled debut album at 15. His music training started in church with his mother as the choir director. Thirty years later, the Grammy award-winning artist is the BET Lifetime Achievement Award recipient with a career that has produced hits after hits of great music. His wife, Jenn Goicoechea and mother Jonnetta Patton cheered him on from the front row. The female star-studded tribute with the exception of Donald Glover (Childish Gambino included Keke Palmer, Summer Walker, Marsha Ambrosius, and Teyana Taylor and Victoria Monét.


Usher and His Words on Family, Fatherhood and Forgiveness in BET Awards Lifetime Achievement Speech
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“Expressed Goals Out” (loud) said the music artist in his acceptance speech. A play on the word “Ego” when he talked about his confidence meeting LaFace executives Kenny “Baby Face” Edmonds and L.A. Reid at 12 or 13 years of age. Edmonds, Reid, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis presented the “Good Good” singer with the coveted award. Jermaine Dupree, an integral music mentor in the superstar’s music journey, also stood on stage with the others as they listened to Usher speak on the importance of the men who remained present in his life when his dad wasn’t.

His father — Usher Raymond III — abandoned his family when the singer was a baby.

“I was trying to make sense of this name a man gave me that didn’t stick around because he didn’t love me,” he said, taking off his glasses so the audience could really see his expression. “You have to have a forgiving heart to understand the true pitfalls and hardships of a Black man in America. And my father, he was a product of that.” He urged other fathers to be present in their own kids’ lives. “This is the year of the father. Stand up for your daughters and sons and lead. They say success has a million fathers,” he said.

Reflecting on his fatherhood journey, Usher had a message for his ex-wife: “I’m trying, Tameka,” the meaning behind his song “Good Good,” and noting he was “turning a new leaf.” The former couple share sons Usher V, 16, and Naviyd, 15. The singer mentioned fellow artists Swizz Beatz and his ex-wife and current wife, Alicia Keys, as inspiration for him working on more unity with a blended family for the sake of the kids.

He also spoke more about forgiveness. “We’ve got to be willing to forgive. We’ve got to be willing to be open,” he said. “I’m telling you, you’re standing before a man who had to forgive a man who never showed up ever. And look what I made with it. Look what I was able to ‘usher’ in. But that’s what’s real. That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us women and men.”

Before his Lifetime Achievement award speech, the “U Got It Bad” singer won won the award for best R&B/hip-hop artist at the BET Awards. His stellar year also included “a record-breaking Super Bowl halftime headlining show, the release of his ninth studio album, the 20th anniversary of his diamond-certified Confessions album and the announcement of his upcoming Past Present Future tour — all of which follows his ultra-successful Las Vegas residency that concluded in December.”

Usher, 45,  is now among the list of other celebrated artists that received  received the Lifetime Achievement Award —  like PrinceWhitney HoustonQueen Latifah and Lionel Richie. 


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