Despite being an eight-time Grammy-Award-winning singer who just completed 100 shows in Las Vegas and will headline the Super Bowl halftime show this month, Usher admits he has the “same issues” as any parent.
On Wednesday’s episode of Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay,” the R&B legend discussed his upcoming Super Bowl performance, the discipline it has taken to get to this point in his career, and the pressures of balancing stratospheric success with fatherhood.
The “Boyfriend” singer told host Sharpe that despite being an uber-famous musical megastar, his challenges as a parent are no doubt familiar to other parents.
“Man, I deal with the same issues that any parent deals with,” the father of four said. “Kids who are influenced by the things that they see, the things that they get into.”
Usher, who shares two sons, Usher “Cinco” V, 16, and Naviyd Ely, 15, with his ex-wife, Tameka Foster, and daughter Sovereign Bo, 3, and son Sire Castrello, 2, with his current partner, Jenn Goicoechea, said his children have influences and a level of access he didn’t have at their age. This, he said, only adds to the pressure.
“That access and that reality that they’re looking at, it gives them some expectation. And unfortunately, I can’t take it back,” he noted.
To course-correct their exposure and access to luxury, Usher acknowledged he’s harder on his children.
“That is a harsh reality, which is all the more the reason why you got to be hard on them. But mindful that their normal is not our normal,” he explained.
He added, “I walked so that we could ride. And now that you’re riding, I want you to understand the importance of walking.”
The performer said he’s especially diligent when it comes to pushing his children towards their goals. One of his sons, he told Sharpe, is pursuing basketball, and Usher has been coaching him for success. Some of his tactics include running drills, commanding push-ups, and warning his son that if his father finishes before him, he has to do it all over again.
He added, “I do think it’s equally important to talk to your kids. If you’re gonna push them that way, you gotta love on them just as much.”
Usher said part of that love includes discipline, especially for Black children.
“I view disciplinary measures as something [that is] preparing your kids, especially Black kids, for the reality of the world that they’re living in,” he said.
He continued, “I personally hold [my children] to a higher standard because I know what work it takes to be great. And for parents who do that, look at the evidence. Look at the incredible artists, the incredible athletes that were created in that.”
At the same time, Usher said he also has empathy for his children — and it is applied to the max when his children feel like their famous father is overshadowing them. He explained that sometimes his children even request he doesn’t attend their events.
When they do allow dear old dad to attend, Usher said he quietly sits in the back of the room and keeps himself “as small” as he possibly can.
“It’s hard because I try my hardest to have that empathy,” the singer conceded. “But I want to be there.”
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