Society teaches men that crying is weak and unmanly, but Usher doesn’t subscribe to that way of thinking. The singer teaches his sons, 12-year-old Usher Raymond V and 11-year-old Naviyd Raymond, that it is “okay” for men to cry and that they shouldn’t be ashamed for it.
In a recent interview, Usher, who also has a third child on the way, spoke about an emotional moment he had with his sons while they were watching the 2020 Disney/PIXAR film Onward. “I’m not shy in terms of being honest with my kids about the fact that I didn’t have a relationship with my father at all. And there was a moment between a son and a father and it got to me — I started crying. So my kids, they look over at me and they’re like, ‘Are you crying?!'” recalled Usher. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m crying!’ They’re like, ‘You cry?!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I cry, and it’s okay to cry.'”
That moment Usher had with his sons ended up becoming the inspiration for his emotional 2020 hit single “I Cry,” which Usher says he made to teach his sons about having empathy. The music video for the song shows images of Black Lives Matter protests, and of course, features Usher crying. “I cry / For the sons without fathers / And the pain that their mothers / Hold deep inside,” reads the chorus. “And I’ll fight / For the future we’re making / We can change if we face it / ‘Cause these tears won’t dry / So I cry,” sings Usher.
“My kids were at the front of my mind when I created it — it wasn’t created in this time, but it’s relevant to this time and will continue to be relevant as we move forward,” says Usher. “I would play [the song] for them later to make them understand that this is an important part of life — to have empathy.”
“Then when I listened and paid attention to what was going on in this time, I began to think, ‘What thing can I offer to my kids, as well as to the world, that’s gonna bring us closer?'” he continued. “It is our ability to be able to empathize with each other and connect in this moment of understanding that a life being taken means more than you can ever imagine.”