Though millions of people may feel they personally know the multi-faceted Tameka Raymond, in reality, she remains an enigma. An eager media often edits her life down to photos, rumors and gossip surrounding her highly visible break-up and custody battle with ex-husband, multi-platinum recording artist Usher Raymond; yet she continues to be a successful entrepreneur, famed designer, and most importantly, a hands-on mother who never fails to put her children first.
Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion by the Art Institute of Atlanta, her star in the fashion industry shines brighter than any tabloid story. Having counted Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Toni Braxton, Nas, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Ciara and Chris Brown among her celebrity A-List clientele as a stylist, Tameka also taught fashion styling at AIU and designed imaging for artists’ complete tours. In constant motion, she is a creative force to be reckoned with in a world where many women would depend on the superstardom of their significant others to elevate their brand.
Still, the heightened interest in the fashion influencer is inevitable as the details of her former relationship play out before the world and Raymond stands by quietly, unable to stop it. Many women from all walks of life can relate closely to her situation, because they’ve been in their own versions of it. When asked by theGrio how she’s holding up through the media circus, Tameka responded with a calm strength, tinged with contentment. “I’m doing fine. I’m doing well. I have great people around me who love me and keep me laughing,” she said.
Tameka’s sole concern, as it always is, lies with her children. She keeps her older boys, Darrin, 21, Ryan, 13, and Kile, 11, in the loop so that they’re not caught off guard by anything they may read in the media. But her younger babies, Usher, 4, and Naviyd Ely, 3, are kept extremely insulated. “I don’t want them exposed to their father’s fans, because that can get a little crazy, especially those people who may actually approach my children and ask them questions,” said the protective mother.
What exactly are those questions – and how complex are the answers? How exactly did things fall apart between the Raymonds, a couple who ignored intense criticism of the union and stood by each other’s side like Bonnie and Clyde?
“Well, if I had to point to one thing, one time, it would be after the birth of our second son, Naviyd,” Tameka said as she contemplated the demise of her relationship. “Until that point, we were a very passionate, very loving couple, but then the pressure of the entertainment industry began to slowly creep in and poison our marriage. There comes a point when as a married man with throngs of adoring female fans, you still have to pretend you’re available, but he wasn’t available… and that began the problems.”