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Brian McKnight’s Slick Move to Join Festival Lineup Backfires After Fans Boycott Solo Concert Over Disowning His Black Kids

Brian McKnight may have to start “Back at One” and prove his love for his older biological children in order to regain some of his fans. The singer’s personal affairs have derailed recent performances as his once loyal supporters now appear to be turning their backs on him.

After his Detroit concert was canceled, the ’90s R&B sensation was named among the headliners booked to entertain attendees at the 2024 Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, Ohio, during the weekend of July 19.

Other acts with top billing include Musiq Soulchild and songstress Regina Belle, with each artist garnering attention for the three-day event. However, not everyone is looking forward to seeing Brian on stage.

Former Brian McKnight fans want him booted from jazz festival amid backlash for disowning his children. (Photos: Brianmcknight23/Instagram; Brianmcknight/Instagram.)

“Brian McKnight? Really? That’s what the Jazz & Rib Fest is doing?” wrote a displeased Facebook user in the comments section of a promotion video for the event.

A second individual taking issue with the artist sought to increase the virtual boos by writing, “Columbus make some noise.” A third reaction reads, “Is Friday deadbeat dad day starring Brian McKnight?” Someone else simply wrote, “Brian Mcknight ?? Nah I’m good…”

As well documented across headlines in the past year, the “Love of My Life” singer is experiencing a cascading wave of backlash for standing firm on his decision to disown his eldest three children, Brian Jr. and Niko, whom he shares with his ex-wife, Julia McKnight, and his daughter Briana, from a separate relationship with ex Patricia Driver.

McKnight is also reportedly the father of another adult son named Clyde, though he has not been dragged into the hoopla surrounding the disgraced entertainer’s complex family tree.

Most recently, the songwriter incited criticism for boasting about his new wife, Leilani McKnight’s, adult children, Julia and Jack McPhee, and the couple’s 1-year-old son, Brian Kainoa Makoa Jr., as his only kids.

In his own words, “In order to live a life that you love, you have to get rid of the evil and the negativity, even if that evil and negativity is related.”

He also told his Instagram followers, who have been critical of his estrangement, that “God wasn’t talking about children that are the product of sin, which these are,” while defending himself for not honoring all of his offspring as believers are instructed to do in the Bible.

Brian Sr. has already seen firsthand the power the masses hold over his livelihood. When promotional flyers for his June 9 show at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit began to circulate, former fans flooded Facebook comment sections with disapproval. “Brian canceled himself once he canceled them kids,” wrote one person. As a result, the show was quietly scrapped.

Despite the repercussions of his honesty about where he stands with his eldest children, the “Evolution of a Man” crooner has remained steadfast in maintaining his distance from them.

His son Niko is battling cancer, a diagnosis that Brian Sr. claimed he learned of from his son’s wife. With his comments limited, he publicly responded to a DM imploring him to help out, saying that he is praying all goes well but that he will not be assisting with his son’s care at the behest of his ex-wife.

McKnight has since shared a number of posts enjoying a U.K. getaway with Leilani, as well as a Mother’s Day post telling her she is “by far the greatest mother” he has ever seen. With Father’s Day nearing, it is likely he will continue to face calls to experience a change of heart in regard to Brian Jr., Niko, and Briana.

Amid the public fallout, comedian Rickey Smiley has offered to support the young adults in any way he can, reminding them that they are deserving of love and not “thrown away.” Brian Sr. has not publicly spoken about the olive branch that has been extended to them.

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