Teddy Riley Speaks in Vibe Exclusive…
As told to Jonathan Hay and Greg Bowman
“First of all, I am a single father and I have provided for my children to the best of my abilities with unconditional love and the utmost security, commitment and support. Now today, I find myself not even wanting to leave my house because of misperception surrounding my family, whom I have sacrificed and dedicated so much to. It is a very emotional and sensitive time for all of us right now.
The situation involving my household over the holidays isn’t being represented right in the media. At this point, I feel further explanation is owed on my part to avoid additional confusion and speculation.
While spending some family time together over the holidays, a disagreement arose between my daughters and me. It was an issue of respect, as I’m sure all parents can relate. As I stated earlier, I love my daughters, but I will not allow my children to disrespect me in my home. I came from The Projects and I could never disrespect my mother, and I never did. I would never tell my mother ‘Shut up!’ I’d never tell my mother anything disrespectful. It was different then, we never disrespected our parents. I never even dreamt of doing such a thing. But now, despite our best efforts, there is a definite difference in our children’s attitudes this generation and a severe lack of respect for authority.
But even with that being said, and contrary to what I have been accused of, I would never beat my children for any reason.
During our disagreement, my daughters, Taja and Deja, grew more and more upset with me and began acting as if they were going to physically fight me, so I felt the need to restrain my children as a disciplinarian parent. I would never hit my daughters out of anger; my only intention was to restrain them from hitting me, with as little force as possible.
To my dismay, they came at me and started hitting me. I tried to hold them back, to calm them down, but Taja hit me in the face. Then Deja came in and started screaming and punching me in the head, so I directed her toward the bed, away from me, and out of harm’s way. At some point, Taja fell against the wall, scraping her face, which is how the bruises on the side of her face were obtained. I did not deliberately push her into a wall, nor did I punch her.
I told Taja to leave the house and she started spitting on me. I was thinking, ‘How can my child disrespect me in my home? I’m their father!’ Not to mention my own mother was in the house during all this, as was Michael Jackson’s niece, Genevieve Jackson.
I called the police, and Taja and Deja decided to call the police at the same time. They told the police that I had a gun and was holding it to them, which was not true in any way. There was never a gun, and the idea that I would ever hold a gun to my own flesh and blood is ridiculous and hurtful.
The police came — the LAPD with six cars and a helicopter – while I was on the phone with their mother. I had nothing but a cell phone on me, but because my daughters had lied and told them I had a gun, they began shouting at me to get down on the ground or they would shoot. The helicopters had their lights on me as I got down to the ground, face down. They asked me to turn my head to the right, then to the left as they approached me, twisted my arms behind my back and lifted me to my feet. They put me up against my car and explained to me that the girls had called them and told them I had a firearm. I couldn’t believe it. A firearm at the girls — I’d pull a gun at my own girls? I would never do such a thing.
I think this is a good demonstration of how a situation like this one can quickly turn from bad to worse very quickly, and a desperate attempt to prove a point could result in an unfortunate situation, even death. Had the police mistaken my cell phone for a gun, it is likely I would’ve been shot several times, right there and then.
The picture that is out right now of my daughter, Taja, is not a true representation of the events that actually occurred on that day. Taja released a photo to the media to suggest that I had caused the bruises to her face. My daughters know the truth; they know that I did not hurt them. But they are still very angry with me — they even hate me at this point. And even though I feel justified in attempting to hold them to a certain level of respect in my home, in retrospect, I would’ve handled this situation much differently. My heart is heavy and it grieves me to watch it play out in the media.
I feel sad and humiliated that we’ve been put in a situation where it’s necessary for these details to be released to the public, as I am a firm believer that family matters should remain discreet and worked through privately together.
The biggest mistake I made in this situation was not immediately talking through it with my girls. They refuse to answer my calls because they dislike me right now and do not want to talk to me. They said something on Twitter, and I replied. Of course, what I said got bleeped out by various media outlets, including ‘Honor thy mother and your father and you will live long.’ I also said ‘Don’t disrespect the hands that feed you’ and I added a Bible scripture so they’d understand the importance of honoring their parents. That’s just how I feel as a dedicated and proud father. At this point, I just want to mend things with them and calm the situation down.
The thing about it is, in the past, I think I’ve been too nice. [Taja and Deja] trashed the room, they trashed my house. When they were packing their bags, I went outside so there would be no confrontation or altercation and they tore up my stuff. So, yes, I’m a little angry at how they’ve handled this situation and I do feel disrespected by them. But at the end of the day, I love them with all of my heart and although they’re grown, they will always be my little girls.”
— Teddy Riley
(As told to Jonathan Hay and Greg Bowman)
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