Usher’s mom has always been supportive of his music ambitions
Usher’s parents, Jonnetta Patton and Usher Raymond III, have been influential in his life and career.
The R&B singer’s mother was instrumental in his success throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s. Jonnetta not only aided in business decisions but encouraged her son to reach his potential.
“The type of ambition that was required for me to be the type of entertainer that I am, it was in the spirit of my mother, first and foremost,” Usher said in an interview with Grant Cardone in September 2023.
Usher’s father struggled with addiction and died in January 2008 due to health issues. The pair had a strained relationship but reconciled at the end of Raymond’s life.
Related: No, Usher Won’t Get Paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show — Here’s Why
“My father and I had a very short amount of time together throughout my entire life, but the most valuable time was during his final days,” the Super Bowl 2024 halftime show performer told Essence. “He asked me to forgive him for not being there.”
Here’s everything to know about Usher’s parents, Jonnetta Patton and Usher Raymond III.
They were married in 1977 and Usher is their only child
Jonnetta and Raymond married in 1977 and welcomed Usher Raymond IV the following year.
After they divorced in 1979, Jonnetta wed Terry Patton two years later. During their almost decade-long union, Jonnetta and Terry celebrated the arrival of their son, James “J.Lack” Lackey, in 1984.
Jonnetta raised Usher and J. Lack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she directed a youth church choir and noticed her older son’s singing talent, according to The New York Times.
The musical gene was also passed down to J. Lack, and over the years, Usher has expressed his pride in his brother’s work.
“I’m so proud of him. J. Lack has his own individuality,” he told MTV in 2007. “A lot of celebrity brothers or family members always fall in the shadows. But he is different.”
Related: Who Is Usher’s Brother? All About J. Lack
Jonnetta acted as Usher’s manager in his early career
Jonnetta wanted to help her son achieve stardom and initially acted as a manager for Usher, helping guide his early career.
In the 1990s, Usher was a member of the Tennessee boy group NuBeginning, but Jonnetta quickly realized he had potential as a solo performer. She moved the family to Atlanta, a decision that the young singer didn’t understand at the time.
“We had a record deal, so we had music, and I felt like my world was being taken away from me,” he told Cardone in September 2023. “And she’s like, ‘No baby, your world is only beginning because you are a solo artist, and there’s something incredible in you.’ “
While the “My Boo” artist felt like his dream career had vanished, his mom reassured him it was all part of her plan. “‘We are gonna figure this out. We’re gonna do it. I will start all the way from the bottom,’ ” Usher recalled Jonnetta saying.
Usher’s mom set him up for success
Sometime after relocating to Atlanta, Usher began performing around town, and when he won a talent show, he met LaFace Records co-founder L.A. Reid. According to the artist, this introduction was a turning point for him, and his career started taking off.
Although Usher found management, Jonnetta wanted to continue being part of conversations about his career. In a 2020 interview with OWN, she shared that she knew how to separate her connection with Usher and the business side of things. Still, their partnership lasted until about 2007, and the “Yeah” vocalist later revealed the reason behind their joint decision.
“We began to part our ways when I wanted to expand in other areas that I felt like she wasn’t necessarily considerate of,” he explained on a September 2017 episode of Oprah’s Master Class.
“There’s a lot of love there and a lot of respect … and her being unwavering about what she felt I deserved,” he continued, adding that he still misses having her next to him during exciting moments of his career.
That said, Jonnetta always celebrates him and his accomplishments, including when Usher announced he was going to be the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show performer. “Thank you Jesus!!! Proud MAMA!!!! So deserving!!!! 30 years Strong!!!!” she wrote on Instagram alongside an event poster.
Jonnetta is a business owner
As Usher’s stardom rose, Jonnetta embarked on her entrepreneurship journey when she founded JPat Management in 2008, per Fortune. The independent record label started when she purchased a building that included a music studio, dance studio and office space, which she could rent out.
Almost a decade later, in 2016, she opened J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator, a commercial shared kitchen in Atlanta. Speaking with Atlanta Magazine, Jonnetta revealed that she converted Usher’s former music studio into a private kitchen, a baker’s kitchen, a tasting room and conference rooms, among other spaces.
According to the business’ website, the facility was “created to furnish early-stage business support to culinary entrepreneurs.”
Jonnetta’s bio states that she strives to “combine her business experience, vast professional network, and fondness for the culinary arts” in order to “elevate today’s budding food artisans into tomorrow’s food service moguls.”
In an October 2023 interview with Atlanta News First, Jonnetta shared that she’s also planning to launch Lion Queen Entertainment, a movie and TV production company.
Usher and his dad reconnected before he died
Throughout Usher’s childhood, his father struggled with addiction and was often absent from his son’s life. In 2007, Usher reached out to Raymond because he “wanted to have a relationship with him” and discovered his dad was dealing with health issues.
The singer later told OWN that when his father was in the hospital in need of a liver transplant, his friend and fellow musician Nelly encouraged him to make peace with Raymond. Usher decided to pay for the procedure, but Raymond went into a coma, and the artist was left to make a difficult choice.
“The hardest part of this story is the fact that, within the process of making the decision of whether my father lives or dies, if they take him off of the [breathing] machine, my son is across town just being born,” he told the network.
Usher’s son, Usher Raymond V, was born two months before his father died in January 2008. That same year, in June, the performer told The Mirror how he felt about meeting his dad.
“I was happy that I did, happy that I got closure, happy that I forgave him for not being there and that I knew he really did love me,” Usher said.
The following month, he elaborated on his takeaway from the personal experience. “I don’t judge my father because I forgave him for anything he’d ever done to hurt me unintentionally,” the singer shared with Essence.
Related: Usher’s 4 Kids: All About Usher V, Naviyd, Sovereign and Sire
Jonnetta is a grandma to Usher’s 4 children
In November 2007, Usher welcomed his first child, Usher “Cinco” Raymond V, with his then-wife, Tameka Foster. Days after his birth, Jonnetta told PEOPLE that she was thrilled to welcome her grandson to the family.
“I’m extremely excited and filled with joy about the birth of my grandson, Usher Raymond V,” she said at the time. “He is beautiful, precious, healthy and such a blessing. I’m very happy for my son and his wife. God has truly blessed them with a special gift. This will be an amazing holiday season for all of us.”
Usher and Foster went on to have a second son, Naviyd Ely, in December 2008. The singer later welcomed daughter Sovereign Bo in September 2020 and son Sire Castrello in September 2021 with his longtime girlfriend Jenn Goicoechea.
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