Instead of receiving Father’s Day wishes, Brian McKnight got slammed by critics online who are over what they deem his intentional and continued erasure of his adult children.
The R&B crooner was once again picked apart on social media after he shared two Instagram posts celebrating his wife, Leilani, his stepchildren, and his youngest son, but not his older biological children.
The latest criticism flooded in stemming from a series of videos of McKnight getting emotional as his stepkids celebrated him with encouraging words. He shared three videos in the first post that appear to be taken at a restaurant over dinner.
“This is what Father’s Day is all about. I am so proud to be your father! I love you and your brother baby Brian so very much,” read his caption.
The first clip featured Leilani’s son Jack, who said, “Blessed because I know how good of a father this man has been to me and my family, you know everyone,” said Leilani’s son Jack. “Truly is one the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life. I love you so much.”
His stepdaughter, Julia, can be seen in a second video, as she celebrates McKnight for giving her “boy advice” and being a good supporter in her life.
“My goal truly in life is to make you proud and I’ve seen everything you do for me and Jack and how you set us up for life and success,” she stated as he got emotional. “And I never want to take you for granted and I’ll spend the rest of my life making sure that I make you proud.
Julia continued in the third video, where she discussed first meeting McKnight when she was just 12 years old. She said she used to refer to him as “BKM…but what it really should have been was DAD.”
She ended with a video saying, “Happy Birthday,” which likely means all three videos were taken on the “Back At One” singer’s birthday earlier this month on June 6.
In a separate post, McKnight celebrated his wife for making it “the best Father’s Day I’ve ever had” and thanked her for “making me a father.”
“I am truly overwhelmed with so much love just looking at our son knowing he was made from our love and comes from God answering our prayers. You took me out of darkness into the light you made me believe in God, because only a God who loves me could bless me this much,” he explained. “You gave me my legacy, this perfect little miracle of life, and you also saved a life, mine. I am proud of the man I am because of you. I am so very much in love with you.”
One of the videos was reposted by The Shade Room, and social media users wasted no time telling McKnight what they thought about his estrangement from his adult kids. Many criticized his failure to celebrate or include his adult kids in his public appreciation posts.
“I can’t believe this man disowned his black kids and started Back At One,” one user commented.
“This man makes it a point to exclude the other kids in his caption. I’m sicka hearing about him and his dysfunction,” another wrote.
“This man likes to troll his own children on purpose! SMH,” a third chimed in. “Is it me or does he word his captions very specifically so that they seem hurtful to his other kids?” another asked.
A fourth wrote, “Why y’all keep posting the man that created a whole new family and forgot about his old one.”
The Father’s Day dragging is the latest in a slew of incidents in which McKnight has come under fire over his relationship or lack thereof with his adult children.
In addition to Julia and Jack, McKnight and Leilani welcomed their youngest son, Brian Kainoa McKnight back in January. His arrival came months after the couple’s announcement in May 2022 that they’d lost their newborn son Kekoa Matteo.
The “One Last Cry” vocalist lists all of his stepchildren and younger children with Leilani in his Instagram bio. However, his adult children — Brian McKnight Jr., 33, Niko, 30, and Briana, 21 — are nowhere to be found. McKnight shares Brian Jr. and Niko with his ex-wife Julie, and Brianna with a different former flame.
Critics have accused McKnight of using his public platforms to love on his “current kids” as a way to hurt his older kids.
For his part, McKnight has defended his estrangement from his older kids, which he claims came from years of them feeling entitled. He said he never abandoned his older kids and is not sorry for being happy with his current family.
“I make absolutely no apologies for naming my infant son Brian,” he shared in a YouTube video. “I want him and the world to know that he is the one that is my true legacy.”
McKnight said he wouldn’t typically give any attention to “internet trolls” but since they came after his family he would attempt to clear up the “misinformation.” After noting he had a “very simple reason” for not positing about his older kids, McKnight explained there was a “long history of conflict, mutual estrangements, and resolutions.”
“The children that I do not currently have relationships with, I don’t post about them,” he said. “Instead, I post about the children with whom I do have relationships, with whom I am proud of and about whom I want to share their accomplishments.”
“I don’t live in the past. I live in the present and the future,” McKnight continued.
McKnight’s older children have publicly spoken about their grievances with their father, including mentioning that Briana sued him in 2019 for defamation. The case was settled and the Grammy winning-singer posted screenshots of the court documents to underscore his statements.
He has yet to respond to the Father’s Day dragging, but he has limited who can comment on his social media posts.